Austin Byrne: A lifelong passion

This is the inspiring story of the passion of one man who dedicated much of his adult life to creating a memorial to the Southern Cross, the first plane to make the trans-Pacific journey from San Francisco to Brisbane, Australia. The record-breaking journey of some 11,500 kilometres took 39 days to complete (in three stages). Charles Kingsford-Smith and his crew landed in Brisbane, Australia, on 9th of June 1928.

On 10 June 1928, the Southern Cross then flew on down to Sydney, just a few flying hours from Brisbane. Austin Byrne, aged 26, was part of the crowd of thousands that gathered at Mascot Aerodrome to welcome the Southern Cross and its crew who had made the epic expedition. 1

Austin had had little education, but this momentous event inspired him to spend thousands of hours over many years teaching himself the construction and artistic skills needed to make the nine elements of his memorial.

This story of tenaciousness and a lifelong passion was brought to my attention by John Pickup, OAM, artist, friend and contributor to the AnArt4Life blog.

The story is well told by The National Museum of Australia, (where the memorial Austin Byrne created is now housed), and is well worth the read…….

Southern Cross memorial | National Museum of Australia
Southern Cross Memorial, created by Austin Byrne between 1930 and 1993.

If you would like to read more about the Southern Cross and its epic journey, please click here


  1. With thanks to the National Museum of Australia, Canberra.