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Ken Warby's crash helmet

Date: 1972
Overall: 260 x 250 mm, 1.8 kg
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Transfer from Powerhouse Museum
Object Name: Helmet
Object No: 00008924
Place Manufactured:Bangor

User Terms

    Ken Warby's crash helmet worn when he broke the water speed record in the hydroplane SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA on Blowering Dam in 1977 and 1978.
    SignificanceSpeed was only one part of Ken Warby's attempt at breaking the world water speed record. Safety was another. Previous efforts by other drivers had ended in fatalities and Warby made every effort where he could to ensure his attempt did not end in disaster.
    HistorySPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA is an Australian designed and built jet-powered, wooden, 3-point hydroplane that has held the world water-speed record since 1977. Breaking both the 300 mph and 500 km/h barriers, SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA raised the world record to 511kph in 1978 at Blowering Dam near Tumut NSW.

    Ken Warby, SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA's designer, builder and driver, achieved his world water-speed records on a shoestring budget. Warby built his hydroplane over two years in the backyard of his suburban Sydney home, using stringers, brackets, stock bits of timber, plywood, screws, epoxy and a military-surplus jet engine that cost $65. He eventually launched the boat in 1974.

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