|Airport, Ballina New South Wales|
Sir Charles Kingsford Smith 1897-1935
Ballina claims a connection with Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and the Southern Cross Aircraft as the First Pacific Ocean flight from America to Australia made landfall near Ballina on 9th June, 1928. As the aircraft reached the coast of Australia after the crossing, the crew realized that they had crossed the coast at Ballina, having been blown off course by the storms and weather that had been encountered during the final leg of the flight from Suva Fiji.
The trans-Pacific flight involved 83 hours flying time and nearly half of that time had been spent in battling bad weather and storms. The total distance covered was 7400 miles.
Forty years after the Pacific flight Ballina Chamber of Commerce placed a memorial plaque on a stone at Black Head East Ballina which was said by some to be the spot where the Southern Cross passed over as it reached land on that day in June, 1928. (Others have claimed that the landfall was made a little further South.)
Originally little mention of the landfall at Ballina was made, but later Ballina came to realize that it was an event of significance which deserved some recognition. So it was that the name Kingsford Smith and Southern Cross have been used to name a major Park and Road and the main road to Ballina Airport is named Southern Cross Drive.
During the 1970ís Council named its major annual festival as Kingsford Smith Festival.
The plaque at Black Head was removed from its position when quarrying work at Black Head was being carried out during the 1980ís and it was relocated to the Ballina Aero Club at Ballina Airport. The plaque is a plain chromed plate with the following inscription
Trans Pacific Flight Landfall 1928 Sir Charles Kingsford Smith
Unveiled by Mr Harold Affleck 9th June 1968
Ballina Chamber of Commerce