Holdfast Remembers Forgotten Aussie Hero

Jimmy_MelroseA new memorial tribute has been erected at Jimmy Melrose Park, Glenelg, to remember a world champion Australian flying ace.

Jimmy Melrose became a national hero in 1934 when he set a record for the flight from England to Australia in the London to Melbourne Centenary Air Race at the tender age of 21.

Charles James “Jimmy” Melrose was the golden boy of aviation in 1934 after his success in the London to Melbourne Centenary Air Race. Not only did he set a new record for the flight over but at 21 he was the youngest pilot in the race, the only Australian to finish and the only competitor to fly solo.

His last flight, at the age of 22, was a charter from Melbourne to Darwin which crashed not far from Essendon airport in terrible weather. Both Jimmy and his passenger were killed.

There was an enormous outpouring of grief at his funeral at Saint Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne. A reported 100,000 people turned out for the funeral while a service was held simultaneously at Saint Peter’s Cathedral in North Adelaide.

State Parliament was suspended for the day. His funeral was held in Melbourne because Jimmy’s mother could not face bringing his body back to Adelaide by train.

To help keep the memory of Jimmy’s achievements alive, the City of Holdfast Bay not only has a meticulously researched and comprehensive exhibit on his life and work at the Bay Discovery Centre, but is also re-dedicating the park outside his childhood home to his memory and achievements.

Relatives and friends of Jimmy will be attending the tribute.

For more information please vist the City of Holdfast Bay’s website

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