This truly remarkable image is taken from a glass plate negative. It shows the Altair Lady Southern Cross not long after the name was applied, as witnessed by the signwriter's chalk lines. The apparent smudge to the right of the gentleman standing on the wing is the location of the previous name ANZAC which Smithy was instructed to remove from the aeroplane. Evidently this area has been sanded prior to repainting. On 18 July 1934, the DCA Senior Aircraft Inspector at Mascot wrote to the Collector of Customs, Sydney: "With reference to this office memorandum of 16th July, relative to Kingsford Smith's 'Altair' and the writer's telephone conversation of even date with your Mr. Terry, it is desired to advise that that the letters 'ANZAC' displayed on each side of the fuselage have now been obliterated." A clearly unimpressed P.G. Taylor wrote in his book Pacific Flight: "The name ANZAC, together with the entire lacquered surface below it , was removed in the presence of a Customs officer whose duty it was to see that the name was obliterated before the machine was cleared." The identity of the gentleman on the wing is unknown. While it is tempting to imagine that he might be the signwriter, his dust coat suggests oil and grease rather than paint so he is probably an engineer. This photograph was probably taken on or after 26 July when the Altair was test flown at Mascot. Another photograph, believed to be of this test flight, shows the aircraft with the name ANZAC removed but before the application of the new name Lady Southern Cross.
Picture: Fairfax Syndication