MS 9923 comprises papers collected by Charles Ulm as well as those collected by his son, John. The papers comprise newspaper cuttings, stamps, commemorative envelopes, correspondence, brochures, research notes, articles, reviews, certificates, talks, handwritten notes, photocopies of government records, business papers, photographs, maps and ephemera. The largest series in the collection is the commemorative and philatelic material, comprising stamps, commemorative envelopes, tribute albums, newspaper cuttings, articles and reviews relating to the 50th anniversary of the first trans-Pacific flight. The 1928 flight saw Charles Ulm fly with Charles Kingsford-Smith on the Southern Cross from Oakland, California to Brisbane, Australia (8 boxes, 1 fol. box).
The Acc09.124 instalment comprises a draft cable written by Charles Ulm on 8 June 1928 from Fiji. The cable is written on the letterhead of HMCS Pioneer, addressed to Q.S.T. Sunflight Sydney (possibly the finance and support team financed by Sun newspapers). It tells them that they (Charles Kingsford-Smith and Ulm) are on their way from Fiji to Brisbane, with plans to depart the day after for Sydney, but would return to Brisbane for a public tour within two weeks. The text includes: "In 19 or 20 hours will be in dear Aussie again... Our landing in Brisbane will be the culmination of 10 months hard work the realization of Smithy's and my ambitions to be first to really cross the Pacific by air". John Ulm notes that the draft was on the HMCS Pioneer letterhead because while Smithy flew the empty plane from Suva to Naselai Beach for their departure from Fiji after refueling, Ulm and others travelled courtesy of the colonial governor on his launch, Pioneer (1 fol. packet).
The Acc10.077 instalment comprises a group of miscellaneous papers relating to Charles and John Ulm. Included is a typescript of John Ulm's address at the 27th Annual Arthur Butler Memorial Lecture, Powerhouse Museum, 2009, titled "Places, planes and politics", biographical information about John Ulm and reminiscences of his father, photocopies of National Archives of Australia documents and extracts from publications and articles that relate to Charles Ulm, and a copy of the Ulm family tree (2 folders).
Charles Ulm was a pioneer Australian aviator. He is best known for his partnership with Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith, and was Kingsford-Smith's co-pilot on many of his famous flights, including the 1928 first crossing of the Pacific. Ulm brought his entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen to the partnership, acquiring the funding necessary for the journey. Ulm was also Kingsford-Smith's partner in the establishment of Australian National Airways, which subsequently failed. He bought one of the airline's Arvro X aircraft in which he went on to set the speed record for the trip from England to Australia. Ulm also undertook several trans-Tasman flights. Ulm died at sea in 1934 when his plane, the Stella Australis, went down in the Pacific Ocean.
John Anthony Ulm was born in June 1921, the only child of Charles Ulm and his first wife, Isabel (née Winter). He was only 13 years old when his father died at sea when his plane, the Stella Australis, went down in the Pacific Ocean. Ulm was educated at Sydney Grammar, following which he took up a position as a copy boy with the Sydney Sun newspaper. He served as a pilot in the RAAF during the Second World War. He resumed his career as a journalist with the Sun after the war, in 1946 travelling to Japan to report on the Occupation, and in 1952 covering the Korean War as a Reuter correspondent.
After this time, Ulm began a long career with Qantas, where he held several positions, and played a major role in founding the company's Press and Information Department. Following his retirement in 1977, at which time he was manager of the Wellington office in New Zealand, he spent six years developing the Financial Review Information Service. For a number of years Ulm has played an active role in researching and commemorating the life of his late father.