Australian Screen

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Australasian Gazette – A Seaplane Circles a Continent (1924)

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A seaplane circles a continent education content clip 1

Original classification rating: not rated. This clip chosen to be PG

Clip description

This silent newsreel shows the triumphant arrival of aviators Wing Commander SJ Goble and Officer IE McIntyre at St Kilda, Melbourne, in their RAAF Fairey 111D seaplane after completing the first aerial circumnavigation of Australia in 1924. The clip opens with an animated map of Australia with the main European countries fitted around its perimeter to illustrate the distance covered and ends with shots of the seaplane in flight.

Curator’s notes

The triumphant pilots are carried aloft a swarming mass of people on the pier. Numerous police officers in bobby helmets control the large crowd.

Teacher’s notes

provided by The Le@rning FederationEducation Services Australia

This clip shows the arrival of Australian aviators Stanley Goble and Ivor McIntyre at St Kilda beach, Melbourne, in their RAAF Fairey 111D seaplane after completing the first aerial circumnavigation of Australia in 1924. It opens with an animated map of Australia, captioned ‘AUSTRALIA COMPARED WITH THE PRINCIPAL EUROPEAN COUNTRIES’. The map shows the main countries of Europe fitted around Australia’s perimeter, indicating the vast distance covered by the aviators. The clip then cuts to Goble and McIntyre arriving at St Kilda pier, where a huge crowd meets them. The clip concludes with aerial shots taken from the rear of the plane and footage of the plane itself in the air. The clip is taken from a silent newsreel and is in black and white.

Educational value points

  • The clip documents the arrival of Goble and McIntyre in St Kilda after completing the first aerial circumnavigation of Australia. Their trip began at Point Cook, Victoria, on 7 April 1924; however, bad weather and mechanical failure meant that the duo took a marathon 43 days to complete the circumnavigation. Goble (1891–1948) and McIntyre covered 13,676 km in 93 hours of flying time, fixing damaged floats along the way and replacing the engine at Broome, Western Australia.
  • The seaplane used by Goble and McIntyre to circumnavigate Australia was a modified Fairey 111D A10-3 single-engine biplane. This was a fixed-wing aircraft with two main wings of similar size, and with a wingspan of 14 m. The Fairey 111D A10-3 was made of wood and fabric and fitted with wooden floats; the floats were attached to the fuselage (body of the plane) by struts and enabled the plane to take off or land on water. Seaplanes began to be built after the successful flight of a prototype in the USA in 1911.
  • Goble and McIntyre were officers with the Royal Australian Air Force who had served in the First World War. During that conflict they may have flown seaplanes, which were used on reconnaissance missions to spot enemy submarines. Wing Commander Goble was the leader and navigator, and Flight Lieutenant McIntyre was the pilot of this 1924 expedition, which was undertaken to survey the Australian coastline for both defence and civil purposes.
  • The clip shows Goble and McIntyre being welcomed on St Kilda pier in Melbourne. Between the 1890s and 1930s, St Kilda pier was used as a disembarkation point for royalty and other dignitaries who arrived in Melbourne by ship. Small craft transferred the visiting dignitaries from ships in Port Phillip Bay to the pier, to be greeted by officials and viewed by the public. When the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George V and Queen Mary) made a royal visit to Melbourne in 1901 they disembarked at St Kilda pier.
  • The two aviators received a hero’s welcome at the end of their expedition and were carried triumphantly through the large crowd. The event received extensive coverage in Australian newspapers, and in the clip photographers can be seen recording the duo’s arrival. This enthusiastic welcome is indicative of the public’s interest in aviation. In that period, Australian aviators were among the pioneers of long-distance flights and many established world records.
  • In 1924, when the clip was filmed, men wore suits, with waistcoats and ties, and overcoats. Women’s dresses were narrow but loose with low waists and hemlines at mid-calf. The Victoria Police officers shown in the clip wear a uniform that consisted of blue woollen trousers, a tunic with metal buttons, and a helmet with a chinstrap. At the time it was customary for both men and women to wear hats when outside or in public places, as a bare head was considered immodest.
  • The clip is taken from an Australian newsreel called Australian (later Australasian) Gazette, a weekly compilation of film reports shown in cinemas before the main film. Newsreels were a chief source of news prior to the advent of television in 1956. Cinema programs usually included an international and a locally produced newsreel, each of which was around 12 minutes in length. Some theatres played newsreels continuously and for the price of a ticket it was possible to stay in the cinema all day.

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australianscreen is produced by the National Film and Sound Archive. By using the website you agree to comply with the terms and conditions described elsewhere on this site. The NFSA may amend the 'Conditions of Use’ from time to time without notice.

All materials on the site, including but not limited to text, video clips, audio clips, designs, logos, illustrations and still images, are protected by the Copyright Laws of Australia and international conventions.

When you access australianscreen you agree that:

  • You may retrieve materials for information only.
  • You may download materials for your personal use or for non-commercial educational purposes, but you must not publish them elsewhere or redistribute clips in any way.
  • The National Film and Sound Archive’s permission must be sought to amend any information in the materials, unless otherwise stated in notices throughout the Site.

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ANY UNAUTHORISED USE OF MATERIAL ON THIS SITE MAY RESULT IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LIABILITY.

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