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Ruined dashboard clock from Australian National Airways Avro X aircraft 'Southern Cloud', which crashed in 1931

Object type
Dashboard clocks

Object number

Ruined dashboard clock from Avro X aircraft 'Southern Cloud'. The clock is in pieces, including: a round rusty metal clock case with a small bolt hanging from the rim on the side; two circular clock face bezels, one with a ridged surface pattern; a severely corroded clock face without numerals or hands, a rust-stained base plate consisting of a flat metal circle with a small round mechanism attached to the back; two five-spoke gear wheels; a three-spoke balance wheel; an escapement platform; an upper balance bridge; a pallet bridge; and three pieces of broken glass, possibly part of the clock face cover.

Collection name
John Boddington collection

Collection statement of significance
The John Boddington Collection consists of the remains of the clock from the instrument panel of the aircraft Southern Cloud.

Southern Cloud, operated by Australian National Airways, crashed in 1931 during appalling weather on the Sydney-Melbourne route. The wreck was not found in the subsequent search and the mystery of the plane's disappearance captured the nation's attention during the dark days of the Depression. It was Australia's first major civil aviation disaster. Only in 1958 - and quite by accident - was the wreckage found by a worker on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme. A significant outcome of the crash was a recommendation for the adoption of radio in civil aircraft in Australia, enabling changed weather forecasts to be conveyed to aircrews. The loss of Southern Cloud and the eight persons on board played a part in creating safer air travel for all Australians. The surviving handful of damaged clock components forms a poignant and graphic reminder of the dangers of flying in the 1930s.

Date made
1929 - 1930

Australian National Airways Limited

Associated person
Travis Shortridge
Pilot of the 'Southern Cloud' when it crashed

Associated person
Tom Sonter
Discovered the wreckage of the 'Southern Cloud'

Associated organisation
Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority
Sonter was employed by the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority

Mr Alan Reid Jr
Alan Reid Jr accompanied his journalist father to the crash site within days of its discovery and souvenired the clock from there

Mr John Boddington
John Boddington bought the clock from Alan Reid Jr for five shillings when they were both students at Canberra Grammar School

Associated person
Sir Charles E. Kingsford Smith
Co-founder of Australian National Airways, who searched unsuccessfully for the 'Southern Cloud' after it went missing

Associated person
Mr Charles T. Ulm
Co-founder of Australian National Airways, who searched unsuccessfully for the 'Southern Cloud' after it went missing

Place of event
Sydney Airport, Mascot, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
The 'Southern Cloud' took off from Mascot Airport in Sydney bound for Essendon Airport in Melbourne

Place of event
Toolong Range, Snowy Mountains, New South Wales, Australia
The 'Southern Cloud' crashed on Toolong Range

Associated place
Essendon, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
The intended destination of the 'Southern Cloud'

Date of event
Date the 'Southern Cloud' crashed

Date of event
Date the wreckage of the 'Southern Cloud' was discovered by Tom Sonter

Metal - non specific, Brass, Glass

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