History of Ballooning

Hot air balloon history Australia is an interesting story. On the first Friday in February, 1858,  the very first Australian hot air balloon ride took place, flown by a British pilot from rural Richmond, in Melbourne. Of course this was many years after the first balloon ride in 1783 by the Mongolfier Brothers but still the local population had never seen one before and it would be many years again till they did.

The first hot air balloon ride by an Australian, happened in Sydney in 1964, an idea dreamt up by a group of Sydney University students that were both smart engineers with great sense of humour. Their motivation was to float over the Sydney cricket ground in a hot air balloon and the university students and staff began the Aerostat Society.

The First Hot Air Balloon ride in Australia

The balloon built by the students was quite small by modern standards, it’s size being 500cu.m and their plan as outlined by Australian Geographic in a detailed story of family history with the balloon

As popularity of hot air ballooning in Australia grew, as a hobby amongst those that built and flew their own one or two person hot air balloons, the Australian Balloon Federation was formed in 1978 and became the lead organsiation for amateur hot air balloon pilots. The ABF also began the National Championships for hot air ballooning in Australia where balloons with a sole pilot competed tasks and tested their skills. The first  National hot air balloon championship happened in Belconnen ACT in 1978 and the second championship was held in 1979 at Greenthorpe, New South Wales. In 2017 the National hot air balloon championships will be held in Western Australia, at Northam.

As tourism grew in outback and regional areas of Australia, hot air balloon rides popped up in every state of Australia, with many of today’s pilots learning their skills from those original balloon pilot pioneers. In 1998, Hot Air Balloon Cairns with a majority of the hot air balloon owners in the commercial hot air ballooning industry, began the Professional Balloon Association of Australia, which for many many years, worked productively to build the Australian industry alongside CASA to uphold some of the strictest hot air balloon safety standards in the world. Hot air balloon history Australia will continue to grow while we always remember those that pioneered the oldest, most traditional form of flight here.