Flight maps | State Library of New South Wales

Flight maps

As detailed flight maps of the route from England to Australia were not available at the time, Ross and Keith Smith used whatever they could find – basic hydrographical maps which were more suited to ocean navigation than flight. "The VIMY had an open cockpit so the crew were fully exposed to the weather, with the result that the maps suffered during the many storms encountered particularly from Calcutta onwards" (Keith Smith, 1950).

The original maps, presented to the Library by Keith Smith in 1950, show their actual flight route with handwritten notes made to each other during the flight.




Maps used by Sir Ross and Keith Smith during their flight to Australia, Nov - Dec 1919.
Maps with manuscript annotations. MT3/118/gmof/1919/1 nos. 54, 55, 56


The first map shows the exact spot where they dropped the bottle in the Timor Sea. Their annotation reads: "Dropped message. Boat turned". The second map shows the final part of their flight, including Indonesia and the Timor Sea. Various pencil annotations describe their speed and weather conditions, topographical features, and conversations between the men: "Has the wind changed, look at the wave tops?" ; "Only a couple of degrees, keep going on 120T". The third map is a fragment of a Map of the World showing their various stops from London to Darwin.