An Australian postage milestone was made in July 1914. French aviator Maurice Guillaux took off from Melbourne Agricultural Grounds on 16 July bound for Sydney, with a cargo of souvenir postcards, official letters and a small number of parcels. Guillaux’s load was light, as his Bleriot XI monoplane was only powered by a Gnôme rotary engine of around 50 horse power. The aviator was challenged by inclement weather as he winged his way north, stopping at Seymour, Wangaratta, Albury, Wagga Wagga, Harden, Goulburn and Liverpool before landing to much fanfare at Sydney’s Moore Park at 2.50pm on 18 July. The flying time of this two-day aviation feat was just 9¼ hours.
Guillaux, an air stuntman during this early period of aviation, was in Australia on a promotional tour. It was an accident of timing that saw him make the historical air mail delivery, as American Eugene “Wizard” Stone, who was lined up to make the flight, crashed his aircraft and was unable to find a replacement. In Stone’s stead, Guillaux flew into postal and aviation history.