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Lawrence Hargrave Papers

The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences holds the largest collection of material internationally of aviation pioneer Lawrence Hargrave (1850-1915). While the invention of the aeroplane cannot be attributed to a single individual, Hargrave was one of a distinguished group of scientists and researchers whose experiments and inventions paved the way for the Wright Brothers’ first powered, controlled flight on 17 December 1903.

The aeronautical journals and drawings of Lawrence Hargrave have historical significance as the primary research material in his lifelong project to develop a practical flying machine and powerplant. His ideas were an important influence on many of the world’s aviation pioneers, and were acknowledged by experts such as Santos Dumont, the Voisin brothers and Octave Chanute.

Hargrave is also significant for his explorations in the Torres Strait and New Guinea. In 1876 he joined Luigi d’Albertis’ expedition to the Fly River, and by the journey’s end was regarded as an expert cartographer who had amassed an unrivalled knowledge of the region. Hargrave also contributed to the study of astronomy by developing adding machines to assist Sydney Observatory staff in their calculations. He researched and wrote on Australian history and was an early advocate for building a bridge across Sydney Harbour.

Inscription Number: #12

Year of Inscription: 2004

Physical Location: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (Powerhouse Museum), Sydney

Documents in the Lawrence Hargrave Papers

Documents in the Lawrence Hargrave Papers, Powerhouse Museum.

Courtesy of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences