Parer & McIntosh 1920 landing site in Culcairn NSW – Article in ‘The Border Mail’, Saturday September 2, 2023

Below is an article in ‘The Border Mail’ about the Culcairn landing site of Parer & McIntosh in August 1920.

As background, in 1919 the Australian Government offered a prize of £10,000 for the first Australians in a British aircraft to fly from England to Australia. The race was won by Ross and Keith Smith, who landed their twin engine Vickers Vimy in Darwin on 10 December 1919. Despite leaving after the race had already been won, contestants Ray Parer & John McIntosh departed England on 8 January 1920 in their single engine Airco DH.9 (G-EAQM) “PD”.

In an epic flight taking 206 days, Parer & McIntosh were the only other contestants to make it to Australia. The flight was the first single engine flight from England to Australia, and Parer & McIntosh were awarded the Air Force Cross for this feat.

After the race, Parer & McIntosh continued their flight from Darwin towards Melbourne. The aircraft encountered engine problems near Culcairn NSW and the pilots landed paddock, however the ground was soft and the aircraft overturned on landing. The pilots survived, and the local Culcairn people helped to right the aircraft and have it transported back to Victoria.

The aircraft “PD” is now at the Australian War Memorial, but the Culcairn landing site was not widely known. On Friday 1 September 2023, Dick Smith flew to Culcairn to visit the site.