The ANZAC on the sports deck of the S.S. Mariposa in Sydney Harbour on 16 July 1934.

P.G. Taylor describes the arrival in Australia of the Altair in his book Pacific Flight.

Lockheeds did everything possible to hurry along the fitting out of the Altair and the shipping people who were on strike at the time sportingly allowed the machine to be slung aboard the Monterey (sic), where she was lashed down on the tennis-court on the sports-deck, ready for the voyage to Australia

On 17 July (sic) the Monterey sailed in through Sydney Heads, and a formation of Kingsford Smith Air Service machines flew out from Mascot aerodrome to meet her.

Flying the Percival Gull in which Kingsford Smith broke the solo record from England in 1933, I pushed out towards the Monterey, straining my eyes for the first sight of the machine we knew was sitting on the deck. In the bright sunlight of a perfect morning I first saw the Lockheed Altair, her tapered wings glistening below her blue streamlined fuselage, a real thoroughbred: no contraption of wires and struts and gadgets hanging everywhere; just a wing, a body, and a tail of perfect form, like a beautiful blue bird poised ready for flight. Time after time we dived past the Monterey and up, to let the Gull go over in a turn; and back to fly past for another view of a real aeroplane, the nearest approach to which in Australia was the Gull in which we flew.

Kingsford Smith was on deck, the Altair was safely there, the day was bright and cheery, and it all looked perfectly clear ahead; but we were reckoning without the train of complications that was to follow the arrival of this aircraft.

(P.G. Taylor would have made many Pacific crossings on the Matson liners Monterey and Mariposa so it is perhaps understandable that P.G. Taylor confused the two ships in his book. Strangely he also recorded the date as 17 July when the shipping news of the day confirms that the Mariposa docked in Sydney Harbour on 16th July.)

Picture: Tim Kalina Collection