Saturday 17 November 2018

Kyeema air disaster was 80 years ago today; families come together to reflect

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A private lunch was hosted at St Hugo in the Barossa Valley today to commemorate the Kyeema air disaster.

On this day 80 years ago, the crash of the Kyeema plane took the lives of wine industry leaders Hugo Gramp, Tom Mayfield Hardy and Sidney Hill-Smith as they travelled en-route to Canberra via Melbourne to lobby the Federal Government on matters relating to wine excise in 1938.

Descendants and close family of all the three industry luminaries attended today’s lunch including Colin Gramp, son of Hugo Gramp and his family; Sir James Hardy OBE, son of Tom Hardy; Bill Hardy, grandson of Tom Mayfield Hardy; and Sam Hill-Smith, nephew of Sidney Hill-Smith.

According to Sam Hill-Smith, “It’s important to acknowledge all those that went before us, who laid the foundations for the success of Australian wine today.”

Colin Gramp said, “I am delighted to welcome members of the Hardy and Hill-Smith family to join the Gramp family on this important occasion. This is the first Kyeema anniversary event that I can recall where all three families have been represented. I believe my father Hugo would have approved.”

Travelling from interstate to attend, Sir James Hardy responded, “I am thankful to Colin Gramp and St Hugo for giving us this opportunity to come together and share a glass of good wine in remembrance of our fathers and shared history. The three families have always respected each other.”

On 25 October 1938, the Australian National Airways DC-2 aircraft named Kyeema crashed into the Dandenong ranges on its way to Essendon Airport in Victoria.

All 18 passengers and crew on board tragically lost their lives including Louis Hugo Gramp, Tom Mayfield Hardy and Sidney Hill-Smith. The tragedy impacted not only the wine industry by the loss of three key leaders but also changed the aviation industry as the tragedy ultimately stimulated the creation of the Civil Aviation Authority, air safety regulations and the system of air traffic control used in Australia.

Photograph: Sam Hill-Smith (nephew of Sidney Hill-Smith), Peter Gramp (grandson of Hugo Gramp), Colin Gramp (son of Hugo Gramp), Sir James Hardy (son of Tom Hardy) and Bill Hardy (great nephew of Tom Hardy).

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