This Day in History: 1924-05-16

WGCDR Stanley Goble and FLGOFF Ivor McIntyre continued their around-Australia flight in Fairey IIID A10-3 on Friday 16 May 1924 (journey day 41, flying day 18). The wind held from the west all night at Israelite Bay and they were able to get away the next morning at 9.27 am, Melbourne time. The wind was then from the SW, the sky overcast, and very heavy seas were running. Most of the coastline there is sheer cliff so they stood well out to sea, making directly for Eyre, from where a sandy beach extended to Eucla. They had been flying between 800 and 1,000 feet between Israelite Bay and Eyre, but to avoid the clouds they climbed to 3,000 feet on reaching the coast. The airspeed immediately dropped, so they descended into the cloud again to get the benefit of the wind. Eucla was reached at 10:35 am. Residents had telegraphed Goble and McIntyre to land there, but as the surf on the beach was too rough, they flew around for a few minutes and dropped a letter with a streamer (a strip torn from the tail of McIntyre’s shirt) explaining why they could not land.
From Eucla the sand gave way to cliffs again, so they stood out to sea and steered a course to Cape Adieu, through clouds and drizzle. Fowler’s Bay was reached at 12:41 pm. It was intended to land there to refuel, but because of the exposed harbour they carried on to Ceduna (Murat Bay) where emergency supplies had been laid down. They arrived there at 1:30 pm.
Having made such a good passage across the Great Australian Bight, it was felt that the previous day’s rough spin was more than offset. Murat and Denial Bays were full of rocks, particularly at low tide, amd residents there saw more flying than at any other place visited, as McIntyre kept flying from one part of the bay to another trying to find a safe place to beach the seaplane. It was eventually anchored on a mud-bank half a mile from the shore. The airmen were cold, wet to the necks, and their teeth chattered; they thought they might get a small nip at the local hotel – but it was ten minutes past six, and under South Australian licensing laws nothing could be bought… but a good Samaritan slipped them something “off the hip.” Source: The First Round-Australia Flight, 1924 by Neville Parnell, AHSA Journal, vol 6, no 12, December 1965 and NAA: A9376, 92, Round Australia seaplane flight 1924 – Wing Commander Goble and Flight Lieutenant McIntyre