This is an NFSA Digital Learning resource. See all Digital Learning websites.

Please read the conditions of usage in the Copyright Policy.

Buying this Video Clip:
You can buy a DVD containing all the Video Clips shown on this site.

About the Video Clip:

Video Clip Synopsis:
Early silent film shows a 1920’s flight to Echuca, including the fashionably dressed passengers enjoying refreshments in a tin shed. The aircraft also delivers sick patients to a waiting ambulance.

2min 28sec

Early Aviation in Australia consists of excerpts from the film Civil Aviation in Australia (10 mins), produced in 1929.

Civil Aviation in Australia shows some of the services provided by the civil aviation industry in Australia in the late 1920s, from mail delivery to passenger transport.

Civil Aviation in Australia was produced by the Development and Migration Commission.

Study Module

Curriculum Focus: SOSE/HSIE
Year: 7-8
Strand: Time, change and continuity
Theme: Civic Work

Key Concepts

Communication, Change over time

Curriculum Applicability Notes

ACT:Everyday texts – Language: Contextual understanding
NSW:(2003 Syllabus) Stage 4 Outcome 4, Outcome 10
NT:R/V 4.1 – 4.3
Qld:Cu 5.2
SA:Texts and contexts 4.3
Tas:Communicating – Being literate, Standard 4
Vic:Reading – Texts 5.7
WA:Understanding Language
Attitudes, values and beliefs

Context / Background Information

Civil aviation in Australia began after the First World War had shown the versatility of aeroplanes, and had created many trained and adventurous pilots.

The Wright brothers made the first sustained, controlled flight in a powered heavier-than-air flying machine at Kitty Hawk, USA, in December 1903. In 1910 the escapologist Harry Houdini made the first recognised flight in a heavier than air craft in Australia at Diggers Rest, Victoria.

In 1919 the Commonwealth Government announced a prize of 10,000 pounds for the first Australian airmen to fly from England to Australia. The prize was won, after a trip of 27 days 20 hours, by Ross and Keith Smith, accompanied by mechanics Bennett and Shiers. Their Vickers Vimy G-EAOU is preserved at Adelaide Airport.

In the following year Q.A.N.T.A.S. Ltd. was registered in Brisbane to operate air services in outback Queensland.

In 1921 the Civil Aviation Branch (CAB) of the Department of Defence was formed to regulate civil aviation in Australia, and in that year Western Australian Airlines recommenced the first scheduled air service in Australia, between Geraldton and Derby in WA.

Civil aviation had begun and a new way of conquering distance in Australia was now available.

Discussion Pointers

  1. What does the video clip show? List the main aspects covered.
  2. What is its message?
  3. What are the main changes that the aeroplane brought to life in Australia?
  4. Who would have benefited most?

Suggested Classroom Activities

  1. Write a narrative to go with this video clip.
  2. OR
  3. Create a commentary from your perspective today on what you see in the video clip — for example your comments on fashions, manners, values, etc.

Modules That Use This Clip

Science Year 7-8, SOSE/HSIE Year 7-8, SOSE/HSIE Year 9-10