Thursday 7 May 2020

Podcasts reflect Amy Johnson's solo flight to Australia

Podcasts reflect Amy Johnson's solo flight to Australia

Another podcast to add to the list of those I posted about a month ago and again one of particular historical interest, celebrating as it does the 90th anniversary of aviatrix Amy Johnson's amazing solo flight from England to Australia over the course of nineteen days from the 5th to the 24th May 1930.

Amazing is just the word to describe her achievement considering she had only learned to fly less than a year previously, in July 1929, and by all accounts had barely 75 hours' solo flying experience when she took off from Croydon Aerodrome on the 5th May 1930 with the aim of beating the 15 days' record flight time to Australia that at the time was held by the pioneer Australian aviator Bert Hinkler.

Amy Johnson and her aeroplane Jason in India, May 1930 
As it turned out events conspired against Amy and she missed out on the record by only 4 days, however she was still rewarded with a CBE in the 1930 Birthday Honours and is rightly remembered as the first Englishwoman to fly solo to Australia (and later, in 1932, breaking the record for a solo flight from England to South Africa).

The enormity of her accomplishment(s) and the manner in which they captured the public's imagination at the time can best be appreciated through the sheer number of people both in England and Australia who turned out to greet her on her arrival/ return, as well as her having a popular song written and recorded in June 1930:

Her diary and notes from the Australian flight forms the basis of this series of podcasts created by the Amy Johnson Arts Trust, a charity based in Amy's home town of Hull, and which recreates day-by-day her remarkable journey in what is a very immediate and vivid performance.  They are, as the Trust's director suggests, an excellent and very timely way to mark Amy Johnson's remarkable feat and her important role as a pioneer of women's aviation.  I look forward to listening to them over the coming weeks and hope they will prove popular.

While researching for this post I also came across a recently uploaded amateur production from 2010 by Cambridge theatre company BAWDS, which looks worth watching, and of course the 1942 film They Flew Alone starring Anna Neagle as Amy is also highly recommended by this blogger.

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