In 1928, Wigram captured the imagination of the nation when Charles Kingsford-Smith made the first Trans-Tasman flight from Sydney to Christchurch. Kingsford-Smith was accompanied by co-pilot Charles Ulm, navigator Harry Litchfield and radio operator Tom McWilliams, a New Zealander. The crew battled fierce storms throughout the night and lost all radio signal before landing safely at Wigram the morning of September 11 1928. The flight took 14 hours and 25 minutes and the arrival was broadcast live on radio.
A crowd of 30,000 people, one quarter of the total population of Christchurch at that time, turned out to see this historic event.
A plaque on the landing site at Wigram Skies commemorates the event. The Heritage Reserve, located on Bennington Way in the George West neighbourhood, marks the actual location of the touchdown by the Southern Cross. The commemorative plaque placed nearby was originally used in 1978 to mark the 50th Anniversary of this landing.
Watch the video clip by One News celebrating the 90th anniversary of this incredibly significant event in aviation history.