Heroes of the skies: The Smith brothers and the Great Air Race of 1919

Exhibition and Shows

2 Nov 2019 to 5 Apr 2020

Discover the amazing story of the England to Australia air race of 1919, won by two of South Australia’s favourite sons, Captain Ross and Lieutenant Keith Smith. Together with their mechanics, Sergeants Wally Shiers and Jim Bennett, they were the first Australian airmen to fly from England to Australia in 28 days in a modified Vickers Vimy bomber.

The exhibition follows the lives of the Smith family from their early days at Mutooroo Station in the far north of South Australia to service in World War One and the public response to the tragic death of Sir Ross in an air crash in 1922.

Highlights relating to the race on display include the log-book and intercom book of the Vickers Vimy, notebooks kept by Ross and Keith, a pocket compass, a magneto from the engine, a piece of Vimy aircraft fabric and a Sidcot flying suit of the day. Also on display are the rarely seen knighthood medals awarded to Keith and the ‘flying wings’ won by Ross and Keith, which were taken into space with astronaut Dr Andy Thomas in 1996.

This exhibition is drawn from the State Library collections, as well as loaned items.


Cafe Family Friendly Free Wifi Non Smoking Public Telephone Public Toilet


Free Entry

Event Times

2 Nov 2019 to 5 Apr 2020

Once Only Event


State Library of South Australia

Corner North Terrace & Kintore Avenue, Adelaide, 5000

Nearby Accommodation

View All
Adabco Boutique Hotel Exterior

Adabco Boutique Hotel


ibis Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia

ibis Adelaide


Peppers Waymouth - Exterior

Peppers Waymouth Hotel


Standard Room - 4 Star

Mercure Grosvenor Hotel Adelaide


Mantra on Frome, Adelaide, South Australia

Mantra On Frome



Majestic Tynte Street Apartments

North Adelaide, Adelaide

Contact Us