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National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer

4

Clothes brush

Object information

Description

This brush is part of a set gifted to Ellen Rogers. The case, containing this brush, hair brushes, a mirror and a comb features a plaque inscribed: "Miss Ellen Rogers / With best wishes from C Kingsford-Smith and C Ulm / Southern Cross Trans-Pacific / June 1928".

Physical description

Silver plated metal and horse-hair clothes brush with an oval face. There is a striped pattern etched into the flat surface with a plain circle in the centre. It is hallmarked.

Statement of significance

The Ellen Rogers collection consists of fifteen items of memorabilia associated with Australian aviation pioneers, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm. The collection consist of a half-size bronze life-mask of Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith; full-size bronze life-mask of Charles Ulm; propeller hub of an Australian National Airways Ltd (ANA) Avro X Lynx engine; half-main bearing removed from the central engine of the 'Southern Cross' aircraft after the 1928 trans-Pacific flight; Charles Ulm's attache case; framed composite photograph with dedication; black and white photograph of 'Faith in Australia'; commemorative wall clock mounted in a propeller; and a velvet lined timber dressing case containing silver plated brushes, comb and mirror. The objects in this collection, many of them presented as gifts to Rogers, reflect the respect and affection Kingsford Smith and Ulm held for their secretary whom they referred to as 'Rog'.

In 1928, Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm became the first aviators to cross the Pacific Ocean by air in the 'Southern Cross'. With two American crewmembers, they took off from Oakland, California, on 31 May 1928 and flew via Hawaii and Suva to Brisbane, completing the historic 11,585 kilometre crossing in 83 hours, 38 minutes, of flying time. Kingsford Smith and Ulm were awarded the Air Force Cross and given honorary commissions in the Royal Australian Air Force. In December 1928, they founded Australian National Airways Ltd (ANA) as a passenger, mail and freight service between cities and towns in eastern Australia. Mounting financial difficulties forced ANA to suspend all passenger services in June 1931, and the company entered voluntary liquidation in February 1933. The two aviators died tragically while pursing their interests - Ulm disappearing in December 1934 flying between California and Hawaii, and Kingsford Smith lost without trace in 1935 off the coast of Burma. Ellen Rogers was employed as secretary to Kingsford Smith and Ulm following the trans-Pacific flight, during the establishment and operation of ANA, and continued working as private secretary to Charles Ulm until his death.

Object information

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