top of page

Timeline of Harry Hawkers Visit to

Australia In 1914

19 January 1914

A civic reception was held at the St Kilda Town Hall in honour of Harry Hawker's return to Australia. Harry who was accompanied by his father, George Hawker and Harry Kauper (Mechanic) were received by the Mayor (Edward O'Donnell), Mr F. Chamberlin (Town Clerk) The Hon. Agar Wynne (Postmaster-General) Mr Arthur Robinson, M.L.C. Mr. Kelly (City Surveyor) together with Councillors Jacoby, Gibbs, Barnet, Hewison, Love and Sculthorpe.

(24 January 1914 - The Prahran Telegraph)

23 January 1914

Maurice Shmith writes a letter to the Minister of Defence, Senator Millen with an invitation to inspect the Sopwith Tabloid biplane.

(National Archives of Australia - NAA: A2023 A38/66)

27 January 1914

Harry flew over Elsternwick for approximately 20 minutes giving a beautiful exhibition of flying the Sopwith Tabloid biplane.

2 February 1914

Harry flew the Sopwith Tabloid from Elsternwick and landed on the lawns of the Federal Government House. Lord and Lady Denman greeted Harry on landing his biplane.

(3 February 1914 - The Argus Melbourne)

5 February 1914

Hawker's British Altitude record was broken in England.

(6 February 1914 - The Argus (Melbourne)

6 February 1914

Flight arrangements are made for flight demonstrations of the Sopwith Tabloid at Caulfield Racecourse. The Collingwood Citizen's Band is engaged. Special trains and motor buses are organised.

(6 February 1914 - The Argus Melbourne)

Early flight for Defence planes is spoken of.

(6 February 1914 - Barrier Mail)

An agreement is made between H.G. Hawker and Albert Sculthorpe

7 February 1914

40,000 people watch the display given by Harry Hawker at Caulfield Racecourse. Ruby Dixon paid 20 pounds to have a flight with Harry Hawker. People crowded the track, preventing Harry from landing safely. Harry decided to fly to Elsternwick Golf Course instead. The plane was damaged on landing. It was decided to postpone the exhibition that was planned for Sydney the following Saturday for at least a week.

(9 February 1914 - The Argus Melbourne)

9 February 1914

Minute paper - Hon Lieut. Henry Petre stated 'Good qualities of the machine are thoroughly appreciated. Not the type likely to be required by the Department in the immediate future. Official inspection and trial should be taken while in Australia. This could be conveniently arranged at the flying ground at Werribee.

(National Archives of Australia - NAA:A2023, A38/66)

11 February 1914

The Defence Minister flies with Harry Hawker. Senator Millen gained the distinction of being the first member of the Federal cabinet to make an aeroplane ascent in Australia.

(12 February 1914- The Argus Melbourne)

13 February 1914

Flights at Caulfield Racecourse

Four passengers

1. Mr G. R. Jackson (Riverina)

2. Miss Linda Cole (daughter of E. W. Cole)

3. Miss Stutt (Melbourne)

4. Mr. A. Hay (Riverina)

(16 February 1914 - The West Australian)

14 February 1914

Harry's criticism of the planes bought by the Australian Defence Department as being of being four models too old. And will be found to be of no practical use for defence purposes.

(14 February 1914 - The Sydney Morning Herald)

When will defence aviators fly? Pupils waiting

(14 February 1914 - Barrier Miner Broken Hill)

 16 February 1914

The Sopwith Tabloid biplane is put on a train to Sydney. Harry and Harry Kauper will follow on Tuesday.

(16 February 1914 - The Argus Melbourne)

 17 February 1914

Letter from Sgd. S.A Pethebridge to M. Shmith thanking him for the arrangements made for inspecting the machine.

(National Archives of Australia NAA. A2023 A38/66)

 19 February 1914

Hawker flies a trial flight in Sydney at Randwick Racecourse

(20 February 1914 - The Sydney Morning Herald)

 21 February 1914

Harry flies at Randwick Racecourse. Miss Ruby Dixon goes for another flight with Harry Hawker.

(21 February 1914 - The Sydney Morning Herald)

 22 February 1914

Harry flies at Randwick Racecourse.

Passengers included:

1. Lord Denman

Governor General of Australia

2. Miss Strickland

(daughter of the Governor of N.S.W.)

(23 February 1914 - The Argus Melbourne)

 25 February 1914

Harry flies in Sydney at Randwick Racecourse.

Passengers included:

1. Miss Ruby Dixon

2. Miss May Meynink

3. Mr G.W. Hellicar

4. Mr A. Howie

(26 February 1914 - The Argus Melbourne)

 26 February 1914

Flying Corps - A start to be made

(26 February 1914 - The Daily News)

 28 February 1914

Harry flies at Victoria Park in Sydney. He takes up two booked passengers. He has given up flying in Newcastle and Brisbane. Plans to fly in Ballarat and Bendigo. Harry will attempt a flight from Melbourne to Sydney if enough inducement is offered. Mr. J.A. Murdoch was enthusiastic after his trip on Saturday, publicly expressed the hope that a prize would be offered. He offered 100 pounds towards the prize. Harry is anxious to return to England to compete in the Gordon-Bennett speed contest, the prize is 18,000pounds

(27 February 1914 - The Sydney Morning Herald)

 4 March 1914

A civic reception is held in honour of Harry Hawker at Albury.

(5 March 1914 - The Sydney Morning Herald)

7 March 1914

Harry Hawker flew from Albury Racecourse. Height record was achieved. 7,800ft. The greatest height ever attained by an airman in Australia. He later crashed the plane and damaged the axle of the landing gear, not much harm had been done to the machine.

(9 March 1914 - The Sydney Morning Herald)

 11 March 1914

Senator Millen flies with Lieutenant Eric Harrison for 6 Minutes.. Senator Millen's daughter also is taken up as a passenger by Lieutenant Harrison. Harry Hawker is at Point Cook watching the flight. Harry believes he can bridge the space between the C.L.C. Motors at Elsternwick and Werribee in ten minutes.

(12 March 1914 - The Argus Melbourne)

 20 March 1914

A letter was sent from M. Shmith to the Minister of Defence requesting an interview with the Minister.

'Mr H.G. Hawker has made successful flights in Melbourne and Sydney. The Sopwith Tractor Biplane was in the main of his own design and has passed the official tests of the Home Government' 'Mr Hawker will be leaving for England and he is anxious to know if the Government will entertain the purchase of his aeroplane' 'A great point about this machine is that it can be flown in any weather and this is most useful from a military point of view'

(National Archives Australia - NAA: A2023 A38/66)

 23 March 1914

Letter sent to M. Shmith from Sgd. S. A. Pethebridge acknowledging the receipt of Mr Shmith's letter requesting an interview.

(National Archives of Australia - NAA: A2023 A38/66)

 25 March 1914

Preparations are made for flights at Bendigo on the 8th April.

(26 March 1914 - Bendigo Advertiser)

 27 March 1914

Lieutenant Henry Petre recommends that the Sopwith plane was not a type at present required by the Central Flying School.

(National Archives of Australia - NAA: A2023 A38/66)

 2 April 1914

The Boomerang and aviation - Mr Hawker says natives solved flight problem.

(3 April 1914 - The Advertiser Adelaide)

 5 April 1914

Public flying exhibition at the Miners Racecourse, Ballarat. An accident resulted in a broken tractor (propeller)

 25 April 1914

Harry announces he is leaving for London on the 6th May. There would be no more flights owing to the damage to his biplane having been so badly damaged at Ballarat.

(25 April 1914 - Leader Melbourne)

 30 April 1914

A letter was sent by Harry Hawker to the Minister of Defence. 'Following on my from my interview of last week re: the Sopwith Aeroplane I now desire to place before you a few particulars of the machine. I would suggest as most suitable for tuition purposes. The Sopwith Co. make a speciality of the tractor type of biplane and their school model'

(National Archives of Australia - NAA: A2023 A38/66)

 5 May 1914

A letter was sent from Sgd. S.A. Pethebridge to Harry Hawker. 'It was not the immediate intention of the Department to purchase a number of machines until the preliminary work in the founding of its aviation school is a little more advanced. Particulars will be kept. Minister thanks Harry for the opportunity of inspection of his machine and accompanying him on one of his flights.

(National Archives of Australia - NAA: A2023 A38/66)

 6 May 1914

Harry Hawker leaves Australia for England on the R.M.S Mooltan accompanied by his mechanic Harry Kauper and Mr Basil Watson.

 19 August 1914

Minute paper by Lieutenant Petre - Copy of particulars of biplane retained.

(National Archives of Australia - NAA: A2023 A38/66)

For more information and to read the newspapers referenced in the time line visit

Australian National Library - Newspaper Articles

bottom of page