Friends of the Library event - Long Flight Home

Lainie Anderson on Long Flight Home

This year marks the centenary of the 1919 Great Air Race, the world’s first flight from England to Australia – an achievement akin to landing a man on the moon. With only a compass for navigation, Sir Ross Smith (with co-pilot, navigator and brother Keith Smith, and mechanics Wally Shiers and Jim Bennett ) flew an open-cockpit Vickers Vimy aircraft – made of wood, fabric, and wire – nearly 18,000 kilometers across the world.

Lainie Anderson is South Australia’s epic flight Centenary Ambassador. Over the past ten years, Lainie has campaigned to preserve the plane languishing out of sight at Adelaide Airport, and raise the profile of the 1919 flight. She received a prestigious Churchill fellowship to travel the world, tracing the epic flight route, and speaking to international aviation historians.  

Long Flight Home, published by Wakefield Press, uses war diaries, letters, and her Churchill fellowship research conducted along the race route, to create this factional account of the flight through the drama of Wally Shiers. Shiers had promised, if he survived the Great War, to marry Helena Alford, but he couldn’t resist joining the heroic flight and the danger it posed to their future.  Comprehensive notes reference the research and show where fact and fictions have been interwoven.

Lainie Anderson has been a weekly columnist with Adelaide’s Sunday Mail since 2007, and previously worked at the Herald Sun in Melbourne, and the Times in London.

WHEN Wednesday 20 November, 6 for a 6.30pm start.

WHERE Ira Raymond Exhibition Room, Barr Smith Library, University of Adelaide.

ENTRY $10 at the door. Students free.

BOOKINGS Please RSVP by 18 November to, or phone 8313 6356.

Tagged in friends of the library, events