AKA Graham Carey, R. Graham Carey & RGC
Robert Carey
     The portrait photo of RGC (as he was also known) was taken with him in the Farman cockpit and my mother & her younger brother (still alive & 87) were passengers for this newspaper article photo in August 1926.
Photo & caption courtesy of Edith Martin, 6-20-04

via email from Edith Martin, 6-18-04
Dear Sir
     As editor, I am about to publish a biography of my grandfather Robert Graham Carey, written by mother and an aviator colleague. Carey has been rather an unsung hero among the early aviation pioneers and we hope to remedy this oversight.
     At 42 years of age, on November 23, 1916 Carey flew solo from Ballarat to Point Cook AFC in Victoria and became the first civilian issued with a Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate, from an official Australian source, and the first to obtain an official commercial flying permit.
     November 23, 1917 Carey flew the first airmail from Adelaide to Gawler, South Australia in his Bleriot XI monoplane. This was the same plane that had belonged to Maurice Guillaux, who had flown the first airmail in Australia from Melbourne to Sydney in 1914. Grandfather's flight has been commemorated on the 40th, 50th & 60th anniversaries with official re-enactments etc. Mum & I flew in an Iroquois helicopter for the 1997 re-ennactment!
     He pioneered commercial aviation moving on with the Bleriot to the establishment of his own airfield in Port Melbourne from 1920 with ownership of 4 ex Defence Department Maurice Farman Shorthorns (training school surplus).
     From fuel merchant with a wheelbarrow to early motoring enterprises and a commercial aviation career Carey took great pride in his 'Safety First' motto and took up 70,000 passengers, two at a time, without ever having more than a minor mishap.
     Carey's tireless promotion of aviation instigated many 'firsts' during his personal flying exploits and his biography makes fascinating reading.
     His final public appearance as a pilot, aged 63 years, was on King George VI's coronation day, May 12, 1937 when he took the Farman aloft during the Melbourne Coronation Motor Show.No record of the early flying days would be complete without the inclusion of this colorful personality. His was a wonderful work - educating people to air safety.

Robert Carey
The Oldest 'Plane in Australia
The Oldest Airman in the World
     The postcard Farman Shorthorn and Safety First Wings motif was widely used and overprinted for various special events/promotions between 1920 and 1937.
Photo & caption courtesy of Edith Martin, 6-20-04

via email from Edith Martin, 6-20-04
Dear Ralph
     The folks at Kingston, (See below), are very well known to us and have the majority of their material provided by my mother. We belong to Friends of Point Cook Aviation Museum and Antique Aeroplane Association of Australia (QuadA). Mum donated a shield, perpetual award in memory of her father. It is presented annually at a major fly-in for the best plane restoration and first showing. We have had some great flights in these restored aeroplanes, from tigers to austers to pacers etc. My Mum will be a healthy 90 early November so the book launch at Pt Cook RAAF base museum, will be before then.
Canadian Aviation Museum
Canadian Aviation Museum
     My younger sister Felicity with Mr Bradford and my Mum in the Ottowa museum 1987.
Photo & caption courtesy of Edith Martin, 6-20-04
       I sent an article last year to a South Australian chap (stranger to me) who has included it on his website:
     I hope the attachments will prove of interest to add to your site.
Best wishes
Edith Martin
  Editor's Note: The website cited above, "AVIATION HISTORY, AUSTRALIA," offered a number of important biographies, many with photographs, of Australian pioneer aviators. As of today, July 1, 2006, the original link has become obsolete, the website has disappeared from the net. In response to Edith's request, I have recovered it, but using the "waybackmachine" website and you can access it by clicking on the title above.
To access the homepage, click on:

Robert Carey Signature
Contributed by Ian Whalley, 5-17-11

     If you search for "Robert Graham Carey" using Google, (8-19-04), you will find about three links, two of which are relevant.

Robert Graham Carey: Aviator
     This page on the "City of Kingston Historical Website" offers a very nice story of his life and career which is illustrated with three unique photographs. The article was written by Margaret Jacobs and includes a listing of the references she used as her sources. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

R. G. Carey
and the Maurice Farman S.11 Shorthorn
     This page on Russell Naughton's "The Pioneers" website offers a collection of stories, photos and important links to others sources of information on Robert G.Carey. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

Powerhouse Museum Collection
Bleriot monoplane
     This page on the Powerhouse Museum website offers a photograph of the Bleriot XI monoplane which is displayed in the museum. It includes a comprehensive description of the plane itself and of its history in Australia which includes these remarks:
..."flown by Maurice Guillaux with first Australian airmail from Melbourne to Sydney in 1914. The plane was purchased in 1916 by Ballarat garage proprietor, (Robert) Graham Carey. Carey used the aircraft to open a flying school and for numerous flying demonstrations around Victoria in aid of the War effort. In the Bleriot, Carey flew the first South Australian airmail service from Adelaide to Gawler on 23 November 1917."
     Of special interest to me in this fascinating story are references to several other pioneer aviators to be found in a section entitled "USED."
     "Two Bleriot XI monoplanes with Anzani engines were shipped to Australia as early as 1910. The first was brought out to Adelaide by a businessman, Fred H. Jones, and flown by Bill Wittber at Bolivar, north of Adelaide, on 13 March 1910, arguably Australia's first controlled powered flight. The other was sent to Melbourne by the Bleriot firm and flown by a French pilot, Gaston Cugnet. It crashed while taking off on its first flight from the Melbourne Cricket ground on 5 December 1910. There was also a Bleriot at Point Cook Aerodrome, Victoria, early in the First War."
     You can enjoy the rest of this very informative story by clicking on the title above.

Before Amelia
from the
Des Martin and Bertha Carey
Edith Martin

Product Details
Hard Cover: 144 pages
Dimensions: 160 x 185mm
100+ Historic B & W images
List Price: $35.00 +mailing charges
Designed, Produced & Printed in Australia
ISBN: 1 920892 13 3
A Biography of Robert Graham Carey
Australian Pioneer Aviator
     This is a fascinating story of Victorian pioneer aviator' Carey, the first civilian to receive an Aviator's Certificate at Point Cook in 1916, and his passion for air safety and the advancement of Civil Aviation. It has been claimed that no record of the early flying days would be complete without the inclusion of this colorful Australian personality.
     For more information and to order the book, click on:

  Books by La Trobe graduates and staff
Edith Martin, BA 2002

Martin, D. and Carey, B. and Martin, E (ed.) A Message from the Clouds
Published by Edith Frances Martin, Australia, 2004.
This is an unusual book sitting somewhere between family memoir and biography. It is an easy and interesting read that focuses on the early days of aviation in Australia - particularly in Victoria - through the story of Robert Graham Carey or 'RGC' as he was known. Carey was one of the first pilots to operate commercially in Australia flying in open cockpit machines - such as the Bleriot - that were at the mercy of the weather and often came to grief. Notwithstanding that Carey carried some thousands of people into the clouds without mishap.
A strong feature of the book is the many period photographs of the era - the 1920s. A time when the horse and buggy was being replaced by the motor car and Carey had an interest in cars as well, running a taxi service in Port Melbourne. Carey was a motor engineer, was a Light Horseman, but loved flying above all else. He was a bold, influential, individualistic, and charismatic person who has an important place in Australian aviation history. He set up his own aerodrome referred to as the 'Careydrome'. The book relates the hard times that befell Carey in the late 20s due to a downturn in aviation. There is a restored Farman aircraft, of the sort that Carey flew, on display at the Point Cook RAAF museum in Victoria.
This book will be enjoyed by anyone interested in the history of aviation, or indeed, in that period of Victorian history.
Reviewed by Dr Ralph Blunden BA Hons 1983, MA 1988, PhD 1994
Courtesy of Edith Martin, 9-22-05

Robert Graham Carey died in 1959.
Personal Communication Via Email
from Edith Martin, 6-18-04

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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