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Reproduced courtesy of Graeme Andrews

SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA on the boat ramp

Date: 1978
Overall: 35 × 38 × 1 mm
Medium: Colour transparency
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Graeme Andrews
Object Copyright: © Graeme Andrews
Object Name: Transparency
Object No: ANMS1163[382]
Related Place:Blowering Reservoir,

User Terms

    A colour transparency showing SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA on its trailer on the boat ramp at Blowering Dam.
    In front of the trailer on the shoreline is a Riverina District ambulance. Also visible in their distinctive blue tracksuits are the RAAF apprentices who assisted Warby in overhauling SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIAS engine after his 1977 world water speed record.
    SignificanceKen Warby, SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA's designer, builder and driver, achieved his world water-speed records on a shoestring budget. The boat was built over two years in the backyard of his suburban Sydney home, using stringers, brackets, stock bits of timber, plywood, screws and epoxy, and launched in 1974.
    HistoryWarby first claimed the world record in 1977, taking his home-made hydroplane to a speed of 464.44 km/h and breaking American Lee Taylor's ten-year-old record of 458.98 km/h. But where Lee Taylor's record had cost close to $1 million in 1967, Warby built his boat in a suburban backyard with a military-surplus jet engine that cost $65. In 1978 he returned to Blowering Dam in the southern highlands of New South Wales and pushed his record to 511.11 km/h (317.68 m/h), where it still stands.

    Warby was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) in recognition of his achievement. More information about SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA's construction, configuration and condition can be found on the Australian Register of Historic Vessels
    Related People
    Photographer: Graeme Andrews

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