Sir Charles Kingsford Smith

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The first thing Sir Charles Kingsford Smith did after touching down in Melbourne in January 1932 in his Southern Star plane was light up a cigarette.

The second — once police and government authorities had turned their backs — was to stealthily cut a foot-long gash into the side of his trusty aircraft, and retrieve a parcel hidden deep inside the fuselage.

The pioneering aviator had just landed with Australia's first commercial shipment of airmail from England.

But he had also smuggled home a diamond and sapphire brooch that he had made in Amsterdam for his wife, Mary.

The bespoke brooch was highly sentimental — it had been fashioned in the shape of the famous Southern Cross aircraft in which the aviator completed the first trans-Pacific flight in 1928.

But duty on the jewellery would have been so expensive, 'Smithy' had hid it well away from the prying eyes of customs officials.

Eighty-eight years on, the brooch is one of the many star items in a multi-million dollar acquisition by the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

Image 1 - Sir Charles Kingsford Smith after touching down in Melbourne.(Supplied: NFSA)

Image 2 -The diamond and platinum brooch given by Charles Kingsford Smith to his wife in 1932 to commemorate his flight across the Pacific.(Supplied: Trevor Kennedy collection, National Museum of Australia



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