thumbnail_Di WM - Brian Randall PhotographyDI WEBSDALE-MORRISSEY
On a Wing and a Prayer

Tuesday 17 September


Tickets $5
includes wine on arrival

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Join us to hear local author, Di Websdale-Morrissey, discuss her new book, which recounts a remarkable but little known episode in Melbourne’s history. The 1934 MacRobertson Air Race, from London to Melbourne, was an audacious plan to celebrate Melbourne’s centennial and became a heart-stopping event watched avidly around the world.

About the book…

On A Wing and a Prayer HROn a Wing and a Prayer
Release date: 3 September 2019

In 1934, Melbourne’s Lord Mayor announced a London-to-Melbourne air race to celebrate his city’s centenary.

The audacious plan captured imaginations across the globe- newspapers and magazines everywhere were filled with it; the world’s pilots scrambled to get sponsorship; and the organisers scrambled to get the rules straight and permission to fly in foreign air space. Sixty-four entrants from eleven countries signed up, but only twenty planes eventually took off on 20 October 1934. The winner arrived in Melbourne seventy-one hours later-but three planes crashed and two pilots died in the attempt.

The world followed the progress and applauded the winners, Britain’s Grovsenor House (outright) and The Netherlands’ Uiver (on handicap), but the real climax of the story is the astonishing efforts by the town of Albury in saving the Uiver as it battled through a fierce thunderstorm with no navigational aids, guiding the tiny plane to an emergency landing in the middle of the town with the most quick-thinking, imaginative response to its terrifying predicament.

This heroic race, considered the greatest single sporting event in the history of aviation, is a tale of eccentric characters, daring deeds and sublime courage. Di Websdale- Morrissey’s page-turning account will have readers holding their breaths, just as the world did eighty-five years ago.

  1. Di , I am eagerly. awaiting my copy of “On a wing and a prayer ”
    My husband had a great interest in Aviation History ., he was an Ansett Airline Captain
    We were very friendly with Rosemary Barron ,the daughter of C.W.A. Scott also Norman Robertson the
    son of MacPherson Robertson .
    Bob was involved in negotiations to bring the De Havilland Comet G – ASS that won the 1934 Air race to Australia
    for the 150th anniversary in 1984 .
    We had many lovely times traveling and meeting very interesting people involved in those early Aviation Days
    Jean Batten another early aviator came and stayed with us mant times .
    I have 2 sons , one a Captain with Jetstar , flying has been his passion since he was a small boy .
    I am 81 and all my friends from the aviation days aren’t alive now .
    I,wish you the greatest success with your book and hope one day I may have the opportunity to meet you .
    Unfortunately I cannot attend your launch in Mornington .
    Best wishes from Janette Miles

  2. Hello Janette,

    Many thanks for your message to Di Websdale-Morrissey via our website – I have passed your words onto Di’s publicist to ensure she gets them.

  3. Hello Janette,
    What a wonderful surprise to receive this from you. Your story sounds fascinating – I wish I have known about you and it before I wrote the book – I’m sure it would have been much richer and more multi-dimensional if I’d had the chance to chat with you. I am now completely besotted with anything all things related to the race. If you live in Melbourne, I would love to have a cuppa with you one day.
    I note that you wrote this in the middle of September, but I only saw it this morning when a friend sent it to me. I apologise for the delay and will work out what went wrong so it doesn’t happen again. If you would like to reply, you can do so via my email address which is included.
    Thank you again,

  4. Hi Di,

    If it helps, I passed the message onto Jamila @ Text on 16 September. Glad you came across it! Thanks for replying in person – very kind of you. I hope Janette gets it.

    Best regards,

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