Charles Kingsford Edward Smith
Born in Brisbane in 1897
His spirit of adventure led to him being called the
world’s greatest pilot
Most Australians loved his dare-devil attitude and his
He was married twice and had one son, also called
While attempting a record-breaking flight in 1935 his
plane went missing off Burma – he was 38 years old
– his plane has never been found.
Graduated from Sydney Technical College
as an Electrical Engineer at age 16
He enrolled in the Australian Military
Forces in 1915, serving in the Middle East
and then in 1917 he was a fighter pilot in
France. He was awarded a Military Cross
for gallantry in action.
From 1919 to 1927 he performed at aerial
circuses and pioneered commercial
aviation throughout Australia.
In 1927 he bought a Fokker Trimoto
aircraft from America which he named the
On May 31, 1928 he took off from
California and flew to Brisbane in his new
aircraft (via Honolulu).
In his new aircraft, he made the first non-
stop flight across the Australian Continent
and the first flight across the Tasman Sea
to New Zealand.
Charles Kingsford Edward Smith, was the first pilot ever to cross
over the Pacific Ocean! This man did not do this all by himself he
did it with a few other pioneers as you can see from this picture
Before Charles crossed the Pacific Ocean, he
fought in World War 1 and was a Fighter Jet
Pilot, it was a hard job he used to say, and I
would imagine it to be too. This is what Charles
would have flown in many years ago, look at
the difference. He became a signaler and
dispatch-rider and was service on Gallipoli and
Egypt and France before transferring to the
Royal Flying Corps (RFC)
Olden Day Fighter Jet Modern day Fighter Jet
When Charles was five years old he and
his family moved to Canada where his
dad worked on The Canadian Pacific
Canadian Pacific Railway Logo
At the age of 10 Charles and his
family moved to Australia and
settled in Sydney.
One day in 1906 , when Charles was in
Australia he and his friend went to
Bondi Beach, they were having fun until
the gushing waves of the sea swept
them out to sea. He nearly drowned but
the Bondi Lifesavers rescued him.
This scary experience stayed with
Charles all his life. It left Charles
with a phobia of water and gave
him many panic attacks when he
travelled over oceans later in his
Recognition of Sir Charles Kingsford
• Charles Kingsford Smith was knighted on 3 June 1932 by the
Australian Governor-General Sir Isaac Isaacs for services to
aviation and later was appointed honorary Air Commodore of
the Royal Australian Air Force.
• Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International Airport was named in
his honour. The suburb around the airport is called Kingsford
and the federal electorate is named Division of Kingsford Smith.
• His most famous aircraft, the Southern Cross, is now preserved
and displayed in a memorial to Sir Charles Kingsford Smith near
the International Terminal at Brisbane Airport.
• In 2009, Kingsford Smith School in the
Canberra suburb of Holt was named after
him, as was the Sir Charles Kingsford Smith
Elementary School in Vancouver.
• He was pictured on the Australian $20 paper
note (in circulation from 1966 until 1994). He
was also pictured on the Australian one-
dollar coin of 1997.
• There are many more memorials dedicated to
Charles Kingsford Smith, including parks,
streets and even postage stamps.
In conclusion, this man is a true
Australian as he was the first man to
fly over the Pacific Ocean.
He also fought in World War 1 as a
Fighter Jet Pilot and was awarded
with the Military Cross because he
showed great bravery.
His achievements in aviation are such
an important part of Australian
History that our Sydney Airport was
named in his honour.
He is truly an Australian identity to be
Australian War Memorial website
Finding Smithy from the National Museum of
Australia and Ryebuck Media 2003