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Sir Lawrence Wackett

Louis Kahan

pen and ink, and brush and ink on paper (sheet: 58.0 cm x 39.1 cm)

Sir Lawrence Wackett KBE DFC AFC (1896-1982), aircraft designer, pilot and entrepreneur, was educated at the Duntroon Military Academy, and was later chosen as a member of the newly formed Australian Flying Corps. In the First World War he served in Palestine and Europe, and was noted for his innovative methods and courageous actions. During his service, he was promoted to Major, and awarded two Air Force medals for bravery under fire. In 1923, Wackett retired from operations to study aircraft design, heading an agency known as the RAAF Experimental Station to produce aircraft in Australia. Wackett designed the Widgeon I and II flying-boat in 1924 as well as the Warragal I and II landplanes. In World War 2, he designed the Wirraway fighter, of which more than 700 units were produced. Later, a trainer for the Empire Air Training Scheme was designed and named after Wackett. Mustangs, Sabres and Mirages were produced under License at CAC in Melbourne. Wackett was knighted for his services to aviation and received the highest honour in the field, the Oswald Watt Gold Medal. A keen angler, he wrote two books about fishing, My Hobby is Trout Fishing (1946) and Studies of an Angler (1950) before he published Aircraft Pioneer: an Autobiography (1972).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Mrs Lily Kahan 2017
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program

Accession number: 2017.85

Currently not on display

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