Lieutenant James BennettPrint Page Print this page

Lieutenant James Bennett
Lieutenant James Bennett

Photographs supplied by Kent Watson / Graeme Saunders

A monument commemorates the airman and mechanic.

In 1919 the Australian government offered a prize of £10,000 to the first aviator to fly from England to Australia within thirty days. Ross Smith and his brother Keith entered the race with Bennett and Shiers as their mechanics and were the first to reach Darwin. Their success aroused world-wide interest and acclaim.

On 22 December the Smith brothers were knighted; Bennett and Shiers received Bars to their Air Force Medals. Early in 1922 the Smith brothers decided to attempt a round-the-world flight; Bennett and Shiers were again chosen as mechanics. The crew planned to take off from England on 25 April, but on 13 April Ross Smith and Bennett were killed during a test flight at Weybridge, when their Vickers Viking Amphibian crashed.

The pioneer aviators were mourned as national heroes and their bodies were brought back to Australia. Bennett was buried in St Kilda cemetery on 19 June 1922 after a lying-in-state at Queen`s Hall, Parliament House


Address:Fitzroy Street & Jacka Boulevarde, O`Donnell Gardens, St Kilda, 3182
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.867347
Long: 144.978042
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Monday 25th April, 1927
Front Inscription

In honoured memory of Lieut. J.M. Bennett, M.S.M., A.F.M., of the Australian Flying Corps, who accompanied as engineer, Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith on the first flight from England Australia 1919; killed in aeroplane crash, Athendon, England, 13th April 1922

Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
Proudly sponsored by UBC Web Design