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Charles Ulm's leather attache case with an attached shipping label


Charles Ulm's leather attache case with an attached shipping label

Object information


This attache case was used by Charles Ulm from 1928 until 1934, including his preparations for the 'Southern Cross' trans-Pacific and trans-Tasman flights, and his Australian-England and Australian-New Zealand flights in 'Faith in Australia'. The shipping label on the back of the case is inscribed "Olympic/5th October 1934/New York/Southhampton", recording the details of Ulm's journey from the United States of America to England to collect the Airspeed Envoy aircraft 'Stella Australis' in which he disappeared flying from California to Hawaii in December 1934.

Physical description

Leather attache case with an attached shipping label. The case has a metal clasp at the front, two buckles either side, a handle at the top, and four compartments inside.

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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