History

Description: Description: C:\Users\Les.Officeworks-PC\Documents\My Webs\ABF\photos\Gallery\firstmont.jpg
First manned flight - Paris 21 November 1783

ABF History

Modern hot air ballooning in Australia began with the formation of the  Aerostat Society by students and staff at the University of Sydney in 1964.

In 1978 the ABF succeeded the Aerostat Society as the prime organisation representing sport balloonists in Australia. 

Past Presidents

The first President of the ABF was Eddie Selman who was also the Director of the first two National Championships.

1978 - 1981

Eddie Selman

1981 - 1984

Dale Allen

1984 - 1987

Adrian Clements

1987 - 1991

Ian Tooth

1991 - 1992

Daryl Stuart

1992 - 1993

Kay Turnbull

1993 - 1995

Danny Galbraith

1995 - 1997

Daryl Stuart 

1997 - 1998

Ruth Wilson 

1998 - 2000

Adam Barrow

2000 - 2009

Gary Pask

Australian National Champions

The first championship was run at Belconnen ACT in 1978. Bill Watson was the winner of the sole task flown but FAI rules require three tasks over two flights to declare a Championship and a Champion. With only one task flown, a result and champion pilot could not be declared.

The second championship was held in 1979 at Greenthorpe NSW (south of Cowra). This championship had 3 tasks and 4 competitors, with Ruth Wilson being declared the first Australian National Hot Air Ballooning Champion.

1978  

Bill Watson

Belconnen     ACT

(Winner but not Champion - see above)

1979

Ruth Wilson         

Greenthorpe  NSW

 See quote below

1981  

Bob Dickson        

Northam      WA

 

1982   

Peter Vizzard     

Seppeltsfield   SA

 

1984   

Judy Lynne        

Northam      WA

 See quote below

1986    

Peter Vizzard     

Seppeltsfield   SA

 

1988

John Wallington  

Canowindra   NSW

 See quote below

1990

Phil Kavanagh        

Benalla        Vic.

 See quote below

1992

John Wallington  

Yanco          NSW

 See quote below

1994

Edwin Michell

Mildura        Vic.

 

1996

Paul Gibbs            

Mildura        Vic.

 See quote below

1998

Paul Gibbs            

Mildura        Vic.

 See quote below

2001

Tim Steiner

Mildura        Vic.

 See quote below

2003

Sean Kavanagh  

Mildura        Vic.

 

2007

Paul Gibbs            

Benalla        Vic.

 See quote below

2009

Paul Gibbs            

Benalla        Vic

 See quote below

2011

Thomas Dattler

Canowindra   NSW

 

2013

Paul Gibbs            

Canowindra   NSW

 See quote below

Results

Results of all Australian National Championships to 2003 (160kb pdf)

Winning a National Championship, what it meant to the Champions?

Ruth Wilson, 1979
Roger Meadmore was the sponsor of the event with his Lovely Lady logos and pancakes. Roger presented me with a silver champagne bucket.

1984 Judy Lynne
At the time I won the National Championships I was flying a great deal, had a fledgling balloon company, and was delighted to find my flying skills were on a par with the best in Australia. After winning the Championships I felt that I could do anything, and go anywhere, in my little Balloon Works balloon.

John Wallington, 1988 & 1992
Both National Championship wins in 1988 and 1992 have provided real and significant high points in my life. The sense of satisfaction and team euphoria has been incredible. The 1988 championship was my first ever ballooning competition so to win it was a bit of a surprise. The 1992 competition was memorable for the essential contribution of my father and his wind reader, in particular allowing four teams to approach one target from the opposite direction to all other competitors. His contribution to the win was vital and gave him enormous satisfaction only weeks before he became sick and died. To win the Sunrice Championships in Sunrice”, kindly loaned to me by Ian and Ruth Tooth, was great.

1990 Phil Kavanagh
Winning the Nationals in 1990 only meant that my total at the end of the week was a bit more than the next competitor. I cannot bring to mind any of the flights during that week, except for the last one, and I think thats because I was relieved I hadn’t blown it.

1996,1998, 2007, 2009,2011,2013 Paul Gibbs
"When the crew and I won in 1996 it was a great sense of relief. I knew I could do it but it was a question of putting it all together. In 90,92,94, I had placed third, which was consistent".

Paul has since proven equal consistent, but in a higher position. (The Editor).

2001 Tim Steiner

2003 Sean Kavanagh

About the first Nationals by Phil Kavanagh
"The first attempt at a National Championship, was held near Canberra to coincide with the opening of the Belconnen Mall. It was only one event (JDG) and was won by Bill Watson, who was first to the goal, making a competition landing, (there were no markers), about fifty metres or so from the intersection. Bill then dragged his balloon envelope around so it appeared that the wind direction was at 90 degrees to the actual, before any of the other competitors were close enough to see him do it. It worked. Everyone used his balloon as an indicator of the ground wind direction and all went off in the wrong direction."

Do you know of any information we are missing? Please send the details to the ABF Administrator

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