80th Anniversary of First Powered FlightPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Neil Follett

The monument commemorates the 80th anniversary of the first powered flight in Australia made by entertainer Harry Houdini in 1910.

Harry Houdini (1874 – 1926) was a Hungarian-American illusionist and stunt performer, noted for his sensational escape acts. He first attracted notice as "Harry Handcuff Houdini" on a tour of Europe, where he challenged police forces to keep him locked up. Soon he extended his repertoire to include chains, ropes slung from skyscrapers, straitjackets under water, and having to hold his breath inside a sealed milk can. He was also a keen aviator, and aimed to become the first man to fly a plane in Australia.

Harry Houdini has fully established his claim to be considered the first successful aviator in Aus tralia. To his records of the past few days he added this morning a flight of about six miles, covered in 7 minutes 37 seconds, on his Voisin biplane. The time was taken by Mr. W. M. Marks, owner of the Sydney yacht Culwulla II, who had motored up from town with Mr. John Dixon, the owner. The time was checked by another stop watch. This morning's performance far exceeds Houdini's previous flights, and constitutes the Australian, record. A certificate of the flight was obtained from the timekeepers and other witnesses. It read as follows:
— "Diggers Rest March 12, 1910.— This document certifies that Harry Houdini, at 7 o'clock this morning, performed the record Australian flight in a Voisin biplane. He remained in the air for 7 minutes 37 seconds, in the presence of 30 witnesses. Houdini' s movements were plainly hampered by a cross-current of wind, which was pronounced by experienced spectators to be distinctly dangerous. He reached a height of from 90 to 100 feet."
Kalgoorlie Miner (WA), 22nd March 1910.


Address:Holden Road, Diggers Rest, 3427
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.657212
Long: 144.693213
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Technology
Actual Event Start Date:18-March-1910
Actual Event End Date:18-March-1910


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 18th March, 1990
Front Inscription

This marker commemorates the 80th anniversary of the first recorded controlled powered flight in Australia, made by Harry Houdini at Dig­gers Rest approximately 1.5 km north of this point on March 18, 1910

Unveiled by Councillor James M. McElroy Shire President  March 18 1990

Council records with appreciation the contribution & service work towards theAmoument of the Melton & District Historical Society, the Lions Club of Diggers Rest and the Aviation Historical Society of australia


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au