ARTHUR B. “WIZARD” STONE FLIES HIS BLERIOT PLANE IN AUSTRALIA, 1914

The illustrated postcard shows a flying ‘Bleriot’ monoplane over a bushland scene as well the faces of two men, Wizard Stone, Aviator and P.V. Ryan, Organizer and Manager. The message reads ‘Goulburn , May 22nd 1914 hope "Wizard" Stone succeeds in delivering this card. It is addressed to Sydney and is postmarked on arrival by train (Figure 1).

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Figure 1: Click to Enlarge

This is believed to be the back of the 'Wizard Stone' card

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Arthur "Wizard" Stone was born in America in 1874 and came to Australia in 1912 with an American-built Bleriot monoplane and his mechanic was Bert Hinkler, a young Australian aviation enthusiast who later became a famous solo long-distance flyer. At Rockhampton, Queensland on 4 June 1912 he prepared to take off from Callaghan Park Racecource in his Bleriot monoplane to race against S. Taylor’s car, driven around the course whilst he flew above. Although "Wizard" was leading, the race ended when Stone crashed in a nearby cricket ground (Figure 2).

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Figure 2: Click to Enlarge

Stone had arranged with the Postmaster General to fly the first inter-capital air mail between Melbourne and Sydney in June 1914, but he had crashed his plane and suffered considerable damage to his body on June 1, and the cards of the same design, as above, were never flown. This postcard is described as: ‘2. Melbourne-Sydney proposed flight card’ in Neville Eustis’ The Australian Air Mail Catalogue, 4th Edition 1984. On 29 June 1912 , William Ewart Hart, an Australian dentist and aviator won Australia's first air race when he defeated the American A. B. Stone (who lost his way) over a 20-mile (32 km) course from Botany to Parramatta Park..

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In the early years of New Zealand aviation, crowds flocked to see displays by touring aviators, who often offered joyrides for the daring. Arthur ‘Wizard’ Stone was one of these and he flew his Bleriot monoplane in front of 11,000 paying spectators at the Auckland Domain on 19 April1913. Another 30,000 are said to have watched from outside the grounds. The aircraft made a forced landing after 400 yards; the plane and the pilot were attacked by members of the disgruntled crowd who felt that they had not got their money’s worth (Figure 3).

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Figure 3: Click to Enlarge

‘Wizard’ Stone was also a motor cycle wall-of-death rider and also did some of this in Australia; and, in New Zealand he had tried to set a new land speed record. In the U.S., Stone was a test pilot for the Queen Aircraft Company, builders of another Bleriot plane.

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These postcards sell for $250 up. Some were posted by surface mail. As far as is known, none of these were carried by Guillaux, even though Arthur Rickard had negotiated with Guillaux to carry the airmail. They were printed in colour, whereas the Guillaux cards were black and white. The Guillaux cards were printed very quickly, and not advertised for sale in the newspapers.