Flying Boats exhibition installation view, 2008  Photo © Sydney Living Museums
1938 saw the dawn of a golden age of aviation when Rose Bay became home to Sydney’s first international airport, servicing the mighty flying boats – large, luxurious, four-engine aircraft that alighted on water.

Flying boats played a vital role in World War II, and after the war they opened up the South Pacific and Lord Howe Island as popular holiday playgrounds for Australians. As a result Sydney operated the last major flying boat base in the world until 1974.

Featuring photographs, posters, film, models, flight crew uniforms, a recreated cabin, a flying boat engine and the fascinating personal stories of travellers, crew and the workers at the Rose Bay base, Flying boats celebrates the early days of transoceanic air travel and presents a definitive account of this extraordinary chapter in Sydney’s history.

This was the beginning of an era when air travel was new, exciting and glamorous and a ticket cost more than the average annual wage. Passengers on the journey from Sydney to England enjoyed a leisurely ten day trip in first class comfort with over 30 exotic stopovers.
10 May 2008 - 14 September 2008