04 September 2019
The Centenary of the Great Air Race from England to Australia has been commemorated with the launch of a new eight-coin collection by the Royal Australian Mint at the Adelaide Airport’s memorial hangar by the 1919 race’s winning plane.
The coins were unveiled at the Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith Memorial Hangar by Royal Australian Mint CEO, Ross MacDiarmid; Coin Developer, James French; and Adelaide Author and Epic Flight Centenary Ambassador, Lainie Anderson. A group of children from nearby Flinders Park Primary School who are currently taking part in the Epic Flight Schools Competition also attended.
World first flight
“This striking limited edition coin collection tells the story of the Great Air Race with designs featuring planes from the world-renowned race, which the Royal Australian Mint is releasing today to aviation enthusiasts, coin collectors, historians and the Australian public”, said Ross MacDiarmid.
“The 1919 Air Race from England to Australia resulted in the first flight across the world by the Vickers Vimy crew – a feat that in its day was as awe-inspiring as man landing on the moon,” added Lainie Anderson.
“In recent decades we’ve sadly forgotten that these incredible Australians achieved one of the world’s greatest aviation milestones, so it’s terrific that the Royal Australian Mint has released this collection to celebrate the centenary of the Air Race, and inspire a new generation”.
The Great Air Race
In 1919, the Australian Government announced a £10,000 prize for the first Australians to fly from England to Australia in under 30 days. Six Australian crews and a pair of Frenchman took up the challenge in planes made from timber and fabric, with open cockpits and little more than a compass for navigation.
Airfields along parts of the route were non-existent and only a single plane made it home in 30 days, beating the daring French who threatened to steal the glory. This achievement by the Vickers Vimy team led by Sir Ross Smith was a historic moment.
The eight coin designs feature the Sopwith Wallaby, Vickers Vimy, Alliance P.2, Blackburn Kangaroo, Martinsyde A1, Airco DH9, Caudron G.4 and a special Great Air Race coin.
The Centenary of the Great Air Race – 2019 $1 Uncirculated Coin Collection is available in a limited mintage of 10,000 - retailing for $130.00. The coins are Australian legal tender and can be purchased from the Mint’s website.
QUICK LINK: Kookaburra Patterns centenary coins
(images copyright Royal Australian Mint)