Medal issued in 1858 to commemorate the flight of Coppin's Balloon. On 1 February 1858 the people of Melbourne witnessed a flight of the 'Australasian', a gas-powered balloon piloted by English aeronaut Joseph Dean and imported by George Coppin. It rose from Coppin (Cremorne) Gardens, on the north bank of the Yarra, to a height of three thousand feet, flew for half an hour and landed in Heidelberg Road. It was heralded as Australia's first human flight.
Although hailed at Australia's first human flight, it is possible that a balloon actually bore another aeronaut, William Green, aloft in Ballarat the previous month, as part of celebrations for the visit of Victorian Governor Sir Henry Barkly. The flight was prepared but was never reported in the papers, perhaps because co-owner of Cremorne Gardens, Gustavus Vaughan Brooke, had local influence and prevented the flight being reported. His partner Coppin had every intention of facilitating the first flight himself.
A white metal medal (38 mm diameter) featuring Coppin's Balloon in flight with two people.
At centre a balloon, above on broad border, COPPIN'S BALLOON; across centre of balloon AUSTRALASIAN
At centre, AEROSTATIC / MEDAL; around on broad border, CREMORNE GARDENS * VICTORIA 1858 *
Transfer from National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), 15 Mar 1976
Obverse: COPPIN'S BALLOON Reverse: AEROSTATIC MEDAL CREMORNE GARDENS * VICTORIA 1858 *
Type of item
Exhibition Collection Management
38 mm (Outside Diameter)
Melbourne Punch 4/2/1858, pp.18-19; Age, 2/2/1868, p.4 Monash University The Centre for Telecommunications and Information Engineering web site [Link 1] Car. 1858/1
[Article] O'Neill-FitzSimons, Terence. 2000. A Balloon on the Ballarat: Green's Balloon Extraordinary. Victorian Historical Journal. 71 (1)
[Book] Rodgers, Helene. 1989. Early Ballooning in Australia.