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Death of Walter “Wally” Shiers

02 June, 1968

Wally Shiers died of heart failure in his brother’s home in the Adelaide suburb of Hilton on 2 June 1968. He was 79. His death was reported on the front page of The Advertiser the following day, with a small photograph and seven paragraphs under the headline “Last Flier In Pioneer Crew Dies”. Following the Great Air Race, Wally settled in Sydney where he bought a garage in Bondi. He began barnstorming with a young pilot by the name of Dave Smith and attempted a failed flight from Australia to England in 1930. He later worked for New England Airways, a forerunner of Airlines of Australia, and was chief engineer until 1939. During WWII he oversaw parachute production with the Light Aircraft Company. Following Helena’s death in the 1950s, Wally was involved in a car accident and moved back to Adelaide to live with his brother Arthur in Bennett St, Hilton. The final paragraph of Wally’s listing in the Australian Dictionary of Biography reads: “Friends and acquaintances remember Wally as a short nuggety man of great character who had a strong will and abrupt manner. He was generous to a fault, had a disregard of material gain and placed a high value on comradeship.” The image top left is published courtesy of News Corp Australia and was taken by an unidentified staff reporter in 1965.