Australian balloon crossing anniversary celebrated

The village of Tabulam, New South Wales, has recently marked the 21st anniversary of an epic 3,867km hot air balloon journey.

The epic trek was made by Dick Smith and John Wallington when they navigated and crossed Australia. Setting off from Carnarvon in Western Australia on June 18th, 1993, it took them 40 hours and 23 minutes before finally landing near a farm outside of Tabulam.

Whilst the cloudy skies threatened disruption, the event was not postponed and over 200 people turned out to catch a glimpse of Smith and Wallington, who had come to mark the occasion with the village. Locals were treated to tales from the duo, including how the journey initially began as a competition between themselves and Phil Kavanagh, a former ballooning champion, to see who could be the first to cross the country.

They took time to reflect on their original journey and regaled their audience with stories about the media circus that had accompanied the landing. Nine helicopters surrounded them in the air above Tabulam prior to the final landing. The mayor of nearby Kyogle, Danielle Mulholland, also displayed plans for a marker on the roadside and an information kiosk opposite their landing site.

Mayor Mulholland added it was great that the pair had returned to the area to help mark the anniversary of the hot air balloon flight. Both adventurers have agreed to come back for the 25th anniversary celebrations of the historic crossing in 2018, as well as to view the completed information bay.

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