80th Anniversary of First Powered FlightPrint Page Print this page

First Powered Flight : 18-04-2014
First Powered Flight : 18-04-2014

Photographs supplied by Kent Watson / Sandra Brown

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:Old Calder Highway, Stan Payne Reserve, Diggers Rest, 3427
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.628658
Long: 144.721089
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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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 monument commemorates the 80th anniversary of the first recorded controlled power flight in Australia, made by Harry Houdini at Diggers Rest on March 18, 1910

Unveiled by Councillor James M. McElroy
Shire President

March 18, 1990

Council records with appreciation the service work of the Lions Club of Diggers Rest towards development of this monument and park


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