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“You might make it if you’ve got the guts”. That's the advice Kingsford Smith gave to Australian aviatrix Maude Bonney when she decided to attempt to become the first woman to fly from Australia to England. And 85 years ago this month she passed through Darwin doing exactly that, flying in her secondhand Gypsy Moth plane with a wooden body and fabric wings called 'My Little Ship'. But she got into trouble in stormy weather near Malaysia, crashing her plane into the water. Determined not to give up, she managed to get the plane repaired, and on 21 June she arrived in London, welcomed by just a few cheering spectators. Her crash meant she had failed to fly the whole way, but was still credited as the first female solo flight from Australia to England, for which she was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire.

Image: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra


Forgotten Territory was a weekly photo column of historic images in the Northern Territory News which I curated from 2016 until 2019 supported by the collections of the Northern Territory Library and other cultural institutions around Australia, as well as local history Facebook groups. 

Click on the images to read the story behind the image.

Warning: May contain images of people who have died.

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