National Museum of Australia > Collections > Behind the scenes

The National Museum of Australia has acquired one of three gliders built by the Australian Gliding Museum – replicas of George Augustine Taylor’s original biplane glider on which he made the first sustained human-carrying flight in Australia.

On 5 December 1909, at Narrabeen Beach in Sydney, about 100 spectators witnessed George Taylor, his wife Florence, and two of Taylor’s colleagues – Edward Hallstrom and Charles Schulz – make some 29 flights in a biplane glider designed and built by Taylor. The flights were considered the first successful human-controlled heavier-than-air flights to be made in Australia; Florence Taylor also became the first woman to make a heavier-than-air flight in Australia. Taylor later modified this glider with a canard for extra stability; the glider is believed to have been destroyed after crashing into the sea in 1910. Taylor had hoped to attach an engine to the modified glider and achieve powered flight, but was unsuccessful in that endeavour.

The National Museum will receive and exhibit the replica glider in 2010. Along with the centenary of Taylor’s flight, late 2009 and early 2010 mark the centenaries of the first controlled and sustained heavier-than-air powered flights (with successful landings) in Australia – Harry Houdini’s flight on 18 March 2010, John Duigan’s flight on 16 July 2010 – and attempts by many others including Colin Defries and Fred Custance.

Find out more about the Museum's Taylor biplane glider replica

A flying visit

A flying visit

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