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Souvenir wooden fragment from the aircraft propeller of 'The Southern Cross', 12 May 1935

Object type
Aircraft components

Object number
1997.0054.0001

Description
Wooden fragment from the aircraft propeller of 'The Southern Cross'. "(?)...Southern Cross 12.5.35" is written in ink on one side of the fragment. The illegible segment may be the signature of Charles Kingsford Smith. The fragment is stored in a Parker Pen box covered in yellow fabric, with a note attached to the inside lid identifying the fragment.

Collection name
Vera Piper collection

Collection statement of significance
The Vera Piper collection includes a fragment of a propeller from the 'Southern Cross' aeroplane and associated memorabilia. The items were collected by the donor's father, Victor Piper (born in 1918), who followed the achievements of Charles Kingsford Smith and developed a passion for aviation from a young age.

The 'Southern Cross' is a tri-motor Fokker F.VIIb-3m aeroplane, purchased in 1928 by Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm, with financial assistance from American philanthropist Allan Hancock. In the 'Southern Cross', Kingsford Smith and Ulm made the first successful trans-Pacific, trans-Australian, and trans-Tasman flights, and set a new Australia-England flight record in 1929. During efforts to establish a regular airmail service between Australia and New Zealand in 1934, Kingsford Smith made a number of trans-Tasman flights in the 'Southern Cross'. On 15 May 1935, while carrying a cargo of Jubilee air mail, Kingsford Smith, P G Taylor and J Stannage were forced to turn back to Sydney en-route to New Zealand when an exhaust manifold on the centre engine broke off and damaged the starboard propeller. The 'Southern Cross' landed safely at Mascot, where it is believed Victor Piper was part of the crowd that greeted the aircraft and crew, and was there given this piece of the broken propeller by Kingsford Smith. Following the unsuccessful trans-Tasman flight, plans were made to have the ageing 'Southern Cross' repaired and then purchased by the Commonwealth Government in order to preserve it for the nation.

Associated person
Sir Charles E. Kingsford Smith

Place of event
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Associated date
12/05/1935

Materials
Wood

Dimensions
Length: 122mm
Width: 12mm
Height: 10mm



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