SUNDOWNER OF THE SKIES

Oscar Garden made an epic solo flight from England to Australia in 1930. His daughter, Mary, details this almost forgotten aviator’s extraordinary adventure

Oscar (on shoulders) being greeted by his friend Betty Whyte, whom he knew when he was living in Sydney.

In the early morning of October 16, 1930 my father, Oscar Garden, taxied his tiny secondhand de Havilland Gipsy Moth across Croydon airport in Surrey, southern England. In the grey light – and with a wave of his hand to the only individual bidding him farewell – he took off for Australia. That person was a representative of the Vacuum Oil Company, which had agreed to provide fuel supplies of Plume petrol and Mobiloil at his planned stops along the 12,000mile (19,000km) route.

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