Image The 'Southern Cross' reaches Sydney, 1928

TLF ID R2925

This is a black-and-white photograph of the 'Southern Cross' biplane arriving in Sydney and being greeted by reporters and photographers and a large contingent of police after the record-breaking flight of Charles Kingsford Smith and his crew across the Pacific. Signed portraits of the crew are superimposed upon the photograph, which measures 30.9 cm x 38.6 cm.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This asset portrays the crew of the 'Southern Cross' who flew the first flight across the Pacific from San Francisco (Oakland) to Brisbane - from left to right they are James Warner, radio operator, Charles Ulm, co-pilot, Charles Kingsford Smith, pilot, and Harry Lyon, navigator.
  • It shows the 'Southern Cross' taxiing across the tarmac in Sydney; Smithy and Ulm later continued on to England and then across the Atlantic and the USA to Oakland to complete the first around-the-world flight.
  • It depicts Kingsford Smith at a moment of triumph in fulfilling his dream to be the first to fly across the Atlantic - Kingsford Smith eventually held more long-distance flying records than anyone else, including from England to Australia, the first non-stop flight across the Australian continent and the first flight across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand.
  • It shows Kingsford Smith and Ulm wearing flying suits for protection in the open cockpit of the 'Southern Cross' - Lyon and Warner, further back in the cabin, were protected and had no need for special gear.
  • It gives a good view of 'Southern Cross', a Fokker F.VIIb-3m - the loaded, occupied plane weighed 6,840 kilograms (including four crew at 291 kg, 3,541 kg of benzine and 109 kg of oil), had a wingspan of 23 metres, was almost 15 metres long and stood 3.9 metres high; it had a cruising speed of 150 kilometres per hour.
  • It shows Atlantic Union Oil Company executive Captain Clive Chateau running out as the plane taxied to a halt to warn the accompanying police to beware of the propellers - a large contingent of police was probably needed as there was a crowd estimated at 300,000 waiting to greet the heroes.
  • It carries an inscription 'To: Our best pal, Amy. From: Charles, Jo., June 1928' - 'Amy' indicates that the dedication was to Amy Johnson, another famous pilot who later flew solo from England to Queensland in 1930; 'Charles' and 'Jo' suggest that it was from Charles Ulm and his wife Jo.
Year level

F; 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12

Learning area
  • history;
  • studies of society and environment
  • History/Historical knowledge and understandings
  • Studies of society and environment/Time, continuity and change

Other details

  • Content provider
  • Copyright holder
  • Organisation: National Library of Australia
  • Remarks: Reproduced courtesy of National Library of Australia
  • Author
  • Date of contribution: 1928
  • Organisation: Broughton Ward and Chaseling
  • Remarks: photographer
  • Publisher
  • Date of contribution: 30 Aug 2013
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Colour independence
  • Device independence
  • Hearing independence
Learning resource type
  • Image
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Operating systems
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  • MS-Windows - minimum version: XP - maximum version: 7
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and National Library of Australia, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements