ANZAC on the sports deck of the S.S. Mariposa in Sydney
Harbour on 16 July 1934.
Taylor describes the arrival in Australia of the Altair in his book
everything possible to hurry along the fitting out of the Altair and
the shipping people who were on strike at the time sportingly allowed
the machine to be slung aboard the Monterey (sic), where she was lashed
down on the tennis-court on the sports-deck, ready for the voyage
On 17 July (sic) the Monterey sailed in through Sydney Heads, and
a formation of Kingsford Smith Air Service machines flew out from
Mascot aerodrome to meet her.
Flying the Percival Gull in which Kingsford Smith broke the solo record
from England in 1933, I pushed out towards the Monterey, straining
my eyes for the first sight of the machine we knew was sitting on
the deck. In the bright sunlight of a perfect morning I first saw
the Lockheed Altair, her tapered wings glistening below her blue streamlined
fuselage, a real thoroughbred: no contraption of wires and struts
and gadgets hanging everywhere; just a wing, a body, and a tail of
perfect form, like a beautiful blue bird poised ready for flight.
Time after time we dived past the Monterey and up, to let the Gull
go over in a turn; and back to fly past for another view of a real
aeroplane, the nearest approach to which in Australia was the Gull
in which we flew.
Kingsford Smith was on deck, the Altair was safely there, the day
was bright and cheery, and it all looked perfectly clear ahead; but
we were reckoning without the train of complications that was to follow
the arrival of this aircraft.
(P.G. Taylor would
have made many Pacific crossings on the Matson liners Monterey
and Mariposa so it is perhaps understandable that P.G. Taylor
confused the two ships in his book. Strangely he also recorded the
date as 17 July when the shipping news of the day confirms that the
Mariposa docked in Sydney Harbour on 16th July.)
Tim Kalina Collection