A century in photographs

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 July, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 July, 2003, 12:00am

South China Morning Post photographers have raced to capture Hong Kong's defining moments in the years since the newspaper hit the streets. In this, the publication's centenary year, our researchers are trawling the archives to illustrate a forthcoming book celebrating 100 years of history as seen through the camera lens. Post Magazine provides a preview of some of the most spectacular images.

November 22, 1975: A balloon drifts over the New Territories during the first postwar hot-air balloon flight in Hong Kong.

Two licensed balloonists - Geoff Green, a Cathay Pacific Airways captain, and Ron Taaffe, a flight engineer for the airline - with Mike Kensey of the Department of Civil Aviation, who went along as an observer, made the flight.

At 7.30am, after the traditional balloonists' toast of Veuve Clicquot champagne, acting governor Sir Denys Roberts pulled a ceremonial ribbon to start the balloon's gas burner. The craft then rose into the air and drifted slowly away, to the cheers of 40 well-wishers and Sai Kung villagers.

After travelling for 40 minutes and more than 11 kilometres, it landed near Pik Uk village on Clear Water Bay Road.

Later, Taaffe said the flight was 'a 100 per cent success'. What pleased the two balloonists, who had flown balloons in 10 other countries, was their perfect 'stand-up' landing. 'It was so exhilarating,' Taaffe said.

The flight was to celebrate the 192nd anniversary of the first manned hot-air-balloon flight by two Frenchmen in Paris in 1783.