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John Oxley Library

Elly Beinhorn - pioneer German aviatrix

By JOL Admin | 29 August 2008

Did you know?

Amy Johnson is well-remembered as the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia in 1930. We have largely forgotten the first woman to fly solo from Europe to Australia. Few Queenslanders recall that she made two stopovers here on her flight from Darwin to Sydney.

In 1932 the glamorous twenty-five-year-old German aviatrix Elly Beinhorn (1907-2007) flew her Klemm monoplane solo from Berlin to Sydney, touching down on the way in exotic places like Persia, Mount Everest, Bali and Darwin.

In Queensland Elly landed her plane at Charleville and Brisbane’s Archerfield Aerodrome. Evidence of these visits was recently found in photographs from Picture Queensland.  They showed Elly being welcomed at Charleville by host and proprietor of the Corones Hotel, Harry Corones, and a delegation of local residents. The Brisbane Courier snapped her at the opening of the William Jolly Bridge on 30 March 1932.

Harry Corones (far right) with Elly Beinhorn at the Corones Hotel, Charleville, 1934.  John Oxley Library Image No: 48430

 Elly Beinhorn with Charleville locals outside the Corones Hotel, 1934. John Oxley Library Image No: 49950

Elly Beinhorn at the opening of the William Jolly Bridge in 1932.  John Oxley Library Image No: 102624

When Elly arrived in Sydney her plane was dismantled and transported via New Zealand to Panama. From there she set off again, flying down the west coast of South America and attempting to cross the Andes.

Such feats made Elly a national heroine in Germany. In 1936 she married racing car driver Bernd Rosemeyer and they became the celebrity couple of Nazi Germany. However tragedy struck in late 1937 when Bernd was killed attempting to break a speed record.

Elly kept flying and only turned in her pilot’s licence in 1979 at the age of 72. She passed away in 2007 aged 100 years.

Do you know anything about Elly’s visit to Charleville or Brisbane?

Do you know any of the people with her in these photographs from Picture Queensland?

Please blog us any information. We’d love to hear from you.


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