soaring_anniv_promo.gif A Special Anniversary: September 6, 1999

Lawrence Hargrave is best known as one of the pioneers of Australian aviation, a multi-disciplinary person, he was an explorer, an astronomer and most notably, an engineer.

Within the history of world aviation, he played a very significant role in the evolution of man-carrying flight.

Hargrave wrote and published widely and denouncing the patenting process, generously shared his ideas with others both here and by his writings, overseas. Perhaps for these reasons and as some writers have stated, his geographical isolation, he has not received due credit or recognition for the role he played and hopefully this new web site, will help to throw a fresh light upon his rightful place alongside the more known players, Otto Lilienthal, Octave Chanute and Orville and Wilbur Wright.

The development of aviation has a symbiotic relationship to the development of communications and data-networks. Without these parallel developments in global communications network technologies and infrastructure we could not have made the achievements in aviation or aerospace.

Hargrave like many of the aviation pioneers was inspired by the flight of birds. On the 6th of September 1899 he read a paper to the Royal Society of New South Wales, Sailing Birds are Dependent on Wave Power. Birds were the symbol and inspiration for the design of craft which would carry man to the sky and to the stars. The aerospace age.

Study of the flight and behaviour of smaller birds and insects played a lesser role in this quest for man-carrying craft. However, if we put to one side the notion or requirement for man-carrying craft and think in terms of placing our intelligence aboard airborne communications systems, a new domain of innerspace aviation opens before us.

Aerobotics© is the domain of airborne collaborative communications systems autonomous air vehicles. In the domain of Micro Air Vehicles, the collaborative communication behaviour of flocks of birds and swarms of bees opens up a new vista of communication and engineering research. The deployment of aircraft in combat and warfare scenarios provides an illustration of airborne systems thinking as apposed to a merely man-carrying role.

Documents relating directly to the 100th Anniversary

Lawrence Hargrave's paper to the Royal Society of New South Wales
September 6, 1899 - [full text]
Sailing Birds are Dependent on Wave-Power

'Sailing Birds are Dependent on Wave-Power' is one of several dozen papers read by Lawrence Hargrave before the Royal Society of New South Wales and subsequentially published in their Journal of Proceedings. As time permits, a full set of papers will be made available on this site

An article by Larry Fogel from S&E Modeler Magazine - [full text]
Dynamic Soaring?

An article from the editors of Aeromodeller Magazine - [full text]
Its for the Birds

Other Documents of note

A Paper by Ian Debenham, Curator, Transport, Powerhouse Museum - [full text]
Lawrence Hargrave: His Role in the Development of the Successful Aeroplane

Associations who, in principle and pending further discussions, have agreed to participate in this and future celebrations


Australian Kite Association, Melbourne, Australia

Museum of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia

RAAF Museum, Point Cook, Victoria, Australia


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Last updated September 25, 1999