Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - ROOTY HILL

AF­TER down­ing his plane in rough weather at Rooty Hill in 1912, Wil­liam Ewart Hart had the du­bi­ous dis­tinc­tion of be­com­ing the first pi­lot to crash in Aus­tralia.

Mr Hart was a den­tist who also flew planes. He was also the first Aus­tralian to re­ceive a pi­lot’s li­cence.

His avi­a­tor’s li­cence, “No. 1”, was is­sued on De­cem­ber 1911 by the newly formed Ae­rial League of Aus­tralia.

In Septem­ber 1911, Mr Hart bought a Bris­tol Boxkite plane from Joseph Ham­mond, a de­mon- stra­tion pi­lot for the British & Colo­nial Aero­plane Com­pany.

Un­der­lin­ing the town’s im­por­tance as Aus­tralia’s early aviation hub, Mr Hart based the plane in Pen­rith on what was known as Bel­more Park, where the sub­urb of Thorn­ton now sits. A storm blew the plane over, wreck­ing it. Mr Hart, how­ever, wasn’t de­terred. He built a bi­plane out of the wreck­age and was fly­ing it from Pen­rith to Par­ra­matta on what he de­scribed to the Ne­pean Times as a “trial run” when it came down at Rooty Hill.

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