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Geraldton commemorates 100 years of air services

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Geraldton 100 years
Image courtesy City of Greater Geraldton

City of Greater Geraldton, Media Release, 1 December 2021

This year marks 100 years since the first subsidised air-mail service in Australia, and Geraldton holds a rich history in the momentous milestone.

In 1921, Major Norman Brearley, a decorated pilot with the Royal Air Force, was awarded a Government tender to deliver the country’s first subsidised air-mail and passenger contract. Tragically, during the inaugural flight, one of the three planes flying from Geraldton to Carnarvon met with disaster near Murchison House Station. 

100 years later, that milestone is being commemorated with an RAAF aerial acrobatics display and the launch of a historical booklet.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn recognised the pioneering efforts Geraldton had in aviation.

“Many people are unaware the first subsidised air-mail flight in Australia took place from Geraldton,” he said.

“We hope this occasion brings to light our rich aviation history and I encourage everyone to head online and check out the commemorative flyer to learn more.”

The historical booklet commemorates the centenary of air-mail services out of Geraldton, then follows the many developments over time, from the war years through to the growth of passenger travel in the 1960s-1970s, up to the present day.

It will be officially launched at the Geraldton Regional Library this Friday 5 December at 10am.

Many have been involved in the development of the historical booklet, including it being researched and written by Gary Warner as well as Tony Parasiliti, Glenn Barndon and the Heritage Services team at the Geraldton Regional Library.

On Sunday 5 December, a PC-21 acrobatics display will take to the skies in front of the Geraldton Marina at approximately 9.45am. RAAF will also be conducting a fly-over at Murchison House Station that morning to acknowledge the tragic flight of 1921.

Australia Post have also acknowledged the milestone and issued a commemorative stamp to mark the centenary of commercial air-mail services.

To RSVP for the historic booklet launch, please reserve a ticket via Eventbrite or contact the Library on 9956 6659.

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