Showcasing pioneering Australian aviation

BESIX Watpac is delivering a stunning new exhibition space at Adelaide Airport to showcase the historic Vickers Vimy, the first aircraft to complete the journey from England to Australia.

Showcasing pioneering Australian aviation
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Delivery of this important historic display space is in addition to BESIX Watpac’s major contract to deliver the new Adelaide Airport Terminal expansion.

The Vickers Vimy is arguably the most important piece of Australia’s pioneering aviation history. Brothers Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith, supported by mechanics Wally Shier and Jim Bennett, took off from England on 12 November 1919 and reached Darwin 28 days later. The extraordinary feat won them the £10,000 prize offered by the Commonwealth Government for the first Australians to fly from England to Australia in less than 30 days.

The new exhibition space project will see the Vimy relocated from a standalone building at Adelaide Airport and take pride of place in a special exhibition space in the new terminal.

South Australia’s Artlab Australia is undertaking the delicate operation to dismantle and reassemble the Vimy in its new home.

"“This is an extremely important project for the preservation of a remarkable piece of Australian aviation history"

The Vickers Vimy relocation project has been jointly funded by the Federal Government, South Australian Government and Adelaide Airport.

Adelaide Airport Managing Director, Brenton Cox, said it was exciting to see work commence on the Vimy’s relocation.

“The Vickers Vimy is a treasured national asset and Adelaide Airport is proud to be its custodian,” Mr Cox said

BESIX Watpac Manager South Australia, Al Crosby says it’s an honour to be involved in such an important heritage project.

“This is an extremely important project for the preservation of a remarkable piece of Australian aviation history and it’s a great way for BESIX Watpac to complete the Adelaide Airport Terminal expansion,” Al said.

The exhibition space will be the second aviation history display facility delivered by BESIX Watpac. The company completed the stunning Qantas Founders Museum facility in Longreach, Queensland in 2020.

The Vickers Vimy was a remarkable aircraft for its time. Developed as a bomber in the closing stages of WW1, it entered service too late to see action. Powered by twin Rolls Royce engines, the open cockpit Vimy completed the 17,910 kilometre journey from the UK to Australia at an average speed of 137 kph.

The Vimy was originally displayed in Melbourne, then Sydney before being relocated to Adelaide in 1957.


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