GERRINGONG and District and Berry historical societies are staging a huge event next week to mark the 80th anniversary of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith's historic flight from Gerroa to New Plymouth in New Zealand.
Organisers are confident of a big turnout, with many people who were just children at the time keen to relive memories of that big day.
Brian Sharpe, who turned 83 in September, was 3½ when his parents Bill and Dorothy made the trip to Gerroa from their home at Toolijooa.
"I went with my older sister Jean, who was two years older than me, and I remember being on the beach and seeing the plane," he said.
"I can't remember how we got there, I assume we went by car, but I can remember the plane on the beach.
"We stayed until early morning and then headed home and it took some time back then.
"We just got into bed and I remember Dad hearing the plane and saying 'there he goes'."
Col Sharpe turned six that February in 1933; the 85-year-old said that even today whenever he thinks of that flight he can smell petrol.
"We left the car at Gerroa and walked down to the Berry end of the beach where the plane was.
"It was all cordoned off but there were people everywhere. What's vivid for me is the smell of petrol - there were drums of it everywhere.
"My father lifted me up on his shoulders so I could have a look inside the plane. They had just wicker seats, it was incredible, it was so cramped.
"We then walked back, sat down on the headland and had dinner.
"We headed home but soon heard the plane take off and my older brother Neil raced outside and I followed and we saw the light as it took off and came around. It was a very noisy aircraft."
The major celebrations - at Seven Mile Beach on January 12 - will include a flyover of a Tigermoth and de Havilland aircraft, while the Berry Historical Society will also hold events on the beach.