RAAF Base Richmond welcomes bust of legendary Sir Charles Kingsford Smith

A bust of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith has been presented for display at the RAAF Base Richmond Officers’ Mess by family members of the legendary aviator.

On 5 April 2018, Doctor Lawrence Kingsford Sayer presented the bust to Group Captain Brad Clarke, Chief of Staff to Headquarters Air Mobility Group.

RAAF Base Richmond has a strong historical connection to Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and the ‘Southern Cross’, the Fokker trimotor aircraft flown on some of his most famous flights.

Air Commodore Kourelakos said the base had one of the few hangars in Australia large enough to accommodate the Southern Cross when it underwent a major overhaul in June and July of 1928.

“Sir Charles Kingsford Smith brought the Southern Cross to Richmond following its historic trans-Pacific flight in May and June of 1928,” Group Captain Clarke said.

“The following September, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and his crew took off from Richmond in the Southern Cross for the first successful trans-Tasman flight to New Zealand.”

At the time, local media reported that the Air Force and wider Hawkesbury community warmly welcomed Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and fellow aviator, Charles Ulm, during their time at Richmond.

“For the RAAF Base Richmond community, it’s a tremendous honour to be presented with this bust of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, and we will display it proudly within the Officers’ Mess,” Group Captain Clarke said.

“The pioneering efforts by Sir Charles Kingsford Smith helped established the idea that aviation could help conquer the tyranny of distance.”

The bust of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith was modelled at the East Sydney Technical College and completed in 1932. This piece of historical art work was on display at the Mascot Town Hall before being repatriated for renovations.

Dr Lawrence Kingsford Sayer, a General Practitioner from Bondi, has kindly presented the bust, which was created by his mother.

Sir Charles Kingsford Smith was knighted in 1932 and tragically lost in a long-distance flight over Myanmar (Burma) in November 1935.