Russell’s first Birdman

Posted on May 10, 2015 in Heritage | 0 comments

First aerial mail run to Russell

Original photo © Russell Museum

The Russell birdman contest brought excitement and colour to our cold grey winter days  In 1920 another birdman brought intense excitement and wonder to Russell.
Pilot George Bolt brought a seaplane to the Far North carrying not only the local Member of Parliament but also the first aerial mail.
The plane left Auckland at 8.30 am on Friday 9 April 1920 planning to drop mail at various places. It reached   Russell at 11.30am. The travelling speed was 60-70 miles an hour, and weather permitting the seaplane planned to return to Auckland the same day.
By 1931 visiting birdmen were a regular occurrence. A 1931 advertisement featured a Captain Hewitt offering   a regular one and a half hour trip to the Bay of Islands.

Our present birdmen may not fly so far but they surely bring colour and excitement.