Elly Beinhorn – pioneer German aviatrix

Did you know?

Amy Johnson is well-remembered as the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia in 1930. We have largely forgotten the first woman to fly solo from Europe to Australia. Few Queenslanders recall that she made two stopovers here on her flight from Darwin to Sydney.

In 1932 the glamorous twenty-five-year-old German aviatrix Elly Beinhorn (1907-2007) flew her Klemm monoplane solo from Berlin to Sydney, touching down on the way in exotic places like Persia, Mount Everest, Bali and Darwin.

In Queensland Elly landed her plane at Charleville and Brisbane’s Archerfield Aerodrome. Evidence of these visits was recently found in photographs from Picture Queensland.  They showed Elly being welcomed at Charleville by host and proprietor of the Corones Hotel, Harry Corones, and a delegation of local residents. The Brisbane Courier snapped her at the opening of the William Jolly Bridge on 30 March 1932.

Harry Corones (far right) with Elly Beinhorn at the Corones Hotel, Charleville, 1934 Harry Corones (far right) with Elly Beinhorn at the Corones Hotel, Charleville, 1934.  John Oxley Library Image No: 48430

Elly Beinhorn with Charleville locals outside the Corones Hotel, 1934 Elly Beinhorn with Charleville locals outside the Corones Hotel, 1934. John Oxley Library Image No: 49950

Elly Beinhorn at the opening of the William Jolly Bridge in 1932. Elly Beinhorn at the opening of the William Jolly Bridge in 1932.  John Oxley Library Image No: 102624

When Elly arrived in Sydney her plane was dismantled and transported via New Zealand to Panama. From there she set off again, flying down the west coast of South America and attempting to cross the Andes.

Such feats made Elly a national heroine in Germany. In 1936 she married racing car driver Bernd Rosemeyer and they became the celebrity couple of Nazi Germany. However tragedy struck in late 1937 when Bernd was killed attempting to break a speed record.

Elly kept flying and only turned in her pilot’s licence in 1979 at the age of 72. She passed away in 2007 aged 100 years.  You can find a tribute to her life and achievements on line at www.youtube.com/watch?v=74IUv4X-1NI

Do you know anything about Elly’s visit to Charleville or Brisbane?

Do you know any of the people with her in these photographs from Picture Queensland?

Please blog us any information. We’d love to hear from you.

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  1. Primrose Cobbold

    Re: Amy Johnson’s visit to Charleville, 1930: I have three photos which may be of interest; I would welcome any other information you can provide to me. These photos belonged to my father who was in Charleville in 1930, I presume he was present when these photos were taken. One shows the Qantas Ltd building in background and her aeoplane with Amy Johnson and others in front; on the reverse is written “Amy Johnson’s visit to Charleville Q. 1930”. The second is a closer-up of her with a ‘Castrol’ sign behind; reverse says “Amy Johnson & friend “Jason”, Charleville Q. 1930. The third says “Amy Johnson just prior to departure Charleville Q. 1930” – her with others, I think receiving some sort of gift?

    I am interested in finding out more history of the photos. I am happy to e-mail scanned copies of the three photographs if that would be helpful.

    On another subject, I also have two photos (one of which my father is in) on the back of which is “Motor ByPass Test 1930, Charleville. I have googled this but not to great success, so any information you can give me would be very welcome; I am happy to e-mail copies of these too.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Sincerely

    Prim Cobbold (South Brisbane)

  2. JOL Admin

    Thanks for this great information. We’ll have a look at our information resources to see if we can find the information you are looking for. Also, we’ll be in touch about your photographs in case these can be copied and added to our collection.

  3. John Ritchie

    I have a photograph of Elly Beinhorn and her aircraft the Klemm which were taken by a relatives late husband in Karachi where he was stationed in the RAF I believe about 1935? Also there are photographs of other aircraft which took part in the England to Australia race about that time I can e mail them to you if they are of interest to your web site
    John

  4. JOL Admin

    Thank you so much Doreen. How wonderful to see Elly Beinhorn all those years later in 1967. I hope you enjoyed your lunch with her.

    Don’t forget that the State Library of Queensland is always seeking to add to it’s rich photographic collections housed in the John Oxley Library.

    If you ever wanted to donate significant photographs like this one at any stage in the future we can supply high quality copies in return for the originals.

    Your photographs would then be stored safely in our repository for future generations and be available for researchers of Queensland history. Photographs are also added to our Picture Queensland site at http://www.pictureqld.slq.qld.gov.au.

    Thanks again for sharing this image with us via our blog.

  5. John Ritchie

    Back in September I sent a copy of a photograph of Elly Beinhorn and wrongly attributed the location as India I have now found out that both pictures of her and the Klemm were taken at the RAF Base in Singapore in June 1932
    Sorry about the mistake
    John

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  7. Malcolm Ross

    Have just seen a new documentary on French TV, about 4 pioneer aviatrices in the German 3rd Reich, namely Hannah Reitsch, Elly Beinhorn, Melitta von Stauffenberg, and Beate Uhse. Wow, those women led fascinating lives. Many shots of the Klemm and although my French is weak it was a terrific doco.

  8. Pingback: Elly Beinhorn and her Love for Aviation | Aviation Blog

  9. Peter Murray

    The large man on extreme left of photo is my great grandfather Daniel Cornelius WRIGHT generally known as Dan C Wright. He was a journalist who in his earlier days travelled as a roving correspondent in outback QLD , SA and NT on a buckboard. In 1903 he did the mail run to Birdsville using horses. He settled in Charleville and had an auctioneering and general stock business( Wrights Agencies ) He died in Charleville in 1943. I do have more information about him if requested. . He wrote and had a book published in 1903 about his experiences in outback Qld, NT and SA. There is one good article he wrote on Trove ” The blacks of Melville Island.”

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