A commemorative nickel plated brass model of 'Scott’s’ race winning de Havilland DH88 Comet on original wooden base.
A spectacular flying race was held in 1934 to celebrate the city of Melbourne's 100th anniversary. Billed as the ‘World’s Greatest Air Race’, the MacRobertson Trophy Air Race (also known as the London to Melbourne Air Race) took place as part of the Melbourne Centenary celebrations.The DH88 Comet named Grosvenor House, flown by Flight Lt. C. W. A. Scott and Captain Tom Campbell Black, was the first to reach Melbourne, having taken two days, 23 hours, 18 seconds, winning the speed division of the race with a total air time of, just over, 71 hours. This despite flying the last stage with one engine throttled back because of an oil-pressure indicator giving a faulty low reading. They would have won the handicap prize as well, but the race rules stipulated that no aircraft could win more than one prize. From an initial 20 competitors at the start of the race only 11 aircraft finished the gruelling 18,000+ kilometre trip.
Dimensions: 18.5cm/7¼ inches (length) x22.75cm/9 inches (wing span) x 9.5cm/3¾ inches (maximum height on base).
The Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Sir Harold Gengoult Smith, devised the race and the prize money of £15,000 was provided by Sir Macpherson Robertson, a wealthy Australian confectionery manufacturer, on the conditions that the race be named after his MacRobertson confectionery company, and that it was organised to be as safe as possible. The race was divided into two divisions, speed and handicap, with no limits to aircraft size, power or crew.
The race was organised by the Royal Aero Club, and ran from RAF Mildenhall in East Anglia to Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, approximately 11,300 miles (18,200 km). The route stretched over nineteen countries and seven seas. Significantly, both outright second and third places in the race were taken by airliners (not designed for speed, but for economy and payload); the KLM Douglas DC-2 PH-AJU Uiver ("Stork") flown by K. D. Parmentier and J. J. Moll and Roscoe Turner's Boeing 247-D. Both completed the course in less than a day behind than the winner. KLM's DC-2 was even flying a regular route with passengers for most of the race! The dutch airliner was the winner of the handicap division of the race. The MacRobertson Centenary Air Race signified the beginning of a new era in aviation. It proved that the new stressed metal aeroplanes performed better over long distances than wooden-bodied machines. It also proved that air travel was a viable alternative for international passenger transport, paving the way for aviation in international travel.