68 years ago, at the tender age of 12, I won a prize in a Sun newspaper competition which was a flight over Melbourne.

The prize of a flight over Melbourne, was awarded for writing an original and interesting entry into a competition within the Sun newspaper. I had to write what “My dream holiday” would be.  I wrote that I’d like to join a troupe of gypsies – somewhere in Europe no doubt – travelling with them in their caravans, eating their campfire food, listening to the strumming of their mandolins and guitars, watching them dance, and generally having a very romantic time.

Little did I know then, that about 9 years later at age 21 I would be flying across the oceans indeed to Europe, to get married in a beautiful church in Salzburg, Austria!  My first long overseas flight.

At the time of my win, as the eldest of 4 children (3 siblings at that time, another was born when I was 13) the others, while too young to be jealous, were very excited for me. I think the whole family was genuinely thrilled, as I was the first of us to ever fly.

We took off from Essendon Airport in a TAA machine I think. What a thrill – it was my first ever flight! And after such an incredible experience, definitely not my last flight.

In the picture below I am pictured 3rd from the left at the front. An exciting day at Essendon Airport with some other lucky girls.

In a full circle, my granddaughter Ellen Polacsek is equally thrilled by aviation and is now in her 4th year of studying Aviation at Swinburne, as well as in the process of gaining her pilot’s licence at Essendon Airport.  She also works part time for Sharp Airlines based at Essendon Fields and is a very focussed, lovely, bright girl of whom I am very proud. ‘Grandma Judy’ is pleased to share that with you too!

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