Robbins and Porter

21 June 2013

On 27 July, AlburyCity will launch an exhibition celebrating the 100-year anniversary of our local connection to aviation history.

In 1911, local mechanics Azor Robbins and Alexander Porter embarked on an ambitious plan to build their own monoplane. Spurred on by the world’s new fascination for flight, the young mechanics set up shop in Albury and began work. Their project sparked much local interest, and before long Robbins and Porter and their ‘ship of the air’ were the talk of the town.

In March 1913 the home-built monoplane was fitted with the Robbins and Porter designed and constructed flat-four engine and in the following months underwent taxi trials. On 27 July 1913 it was taken to Bungowannah Park Estate, in front of six witnesses, it flew six metres off the ground. The trial was repeated a few days later but after a mechanical malfunction the plane never flew again. To this day it is the first and oldest flat four (horizontal – 4-cylinder) aero engine designed and built in Australia and the only one of this type to actually fly.

Saturday 27 July marks the 100-year anniversary of the historic Robbins and Porter flight. To celebrate the milestone, the story of that ambitious quest will be told in a spectacular exhibition at the Albury LibraryMuseum, which is on the actual site of the original Robbins and Porter garage.

The Albury and District Historical Society is currently constructing a life-size replica of the Robbins and Porter monoplane which will be hung from the ceiling. A collection of artefacts and memorabilia – including the original flat-four engine – will be on show, while kids can enjoy a simulation of the original Robbins and Porter flight.

Robbins and Porter will open at the Albury LibraryMuseum on Saturday, 27 July.