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National Museum of Australia

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Frank Proust slips en route to Southern Cloud crash site

2007.0032.0002

Frank Proust slips en route to Southern Cloud crash site

Object information

Physical description

A black and white photograph of Frank Proust on the way to the crash site of the Southern Cloud.

Statement of significance

The Frank Proust collection consists of the damaged tachometer plate from the instrument panel of the aircraft Southern Cloud and four black and white photographs by Sydney Morning Herald photographer Alan Kemp.

Southern Cloud, operated by Australian National Airways, crashed in 1931 during appalling weather on the Sydney-Melbourne route. The wreck was not found in the subsequent search and the mystery of the plane's disappearance captured the nation's attention during the dark days of the Depression. It was Australia's first major civil aviation disaster. Only in 1958 - and quite by accident - was the wreckage found by a worker on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme. A significant outcome of the crash was a recommendation for the adoption of radio in civil aircraft in Australia, enabling changed weather forecasts to be conveyed to aircrews. The loss of Southern Cloud and the eight persons on board played a part in creating safer air travel for all Australians. The damaged tachometer plate forms a poignant and graphic reminder of the dangers of flying in the 1930s.

Object information

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