Celebrate 100 years of innovation with Andy Thomas AO

Celebrate 100 years of innovation with Andy Thomas AO

Nov 1
CEDA welcomes Epic Flight Centenary Patron and Astronaut, Andy Thomas AO to reflect on the first flight across the world 100 years ago and to look ahead at what might drive future innovations.


Andy Thomas AO, Former NASA Astronaut
Lainie Anderson, Journalist and Author of 'Long Flight Home'
Sarah Gun, Founder, GOGO events
Professor Anton Middelberg, Executive Dean, Faculty of Engineering Computer & Math Sciences, The University of Adelaide

Event overview

​As we mark the centenary of the epic flight from England to Australia by Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith in their famous Vickers Vimy, it is timely to ponder what great success stories South Australians might be celebrating in another 100 years.

  • Will it be Australia’s leadership role in the global space race?
  • Will it be the reputation we’ve forged for creative industries? or
  • Could it be our international reputation as a state of social enterprise?
Andy Thomas AO, Epic Flight Centenary patron and astronaut will be joined by a a panel of leading South Australians including a student from Seymour College to celebrate the innovations and successes of today and to come. 

Meet the keynote speaker

Andy Thomas AO
Former NASA Astronaut

Andy Thomas AO is an astronaut. Born and educated in Adelaide, an engineer by profession, he managed a number of aeronautical programs and patented several inventions before joining NASA in 1992. He made his first space flight in 1996, spending ten days away from earth. Some two years later he boarded the shuttle Endeavour to dock at the Mir space station, where he worked as Board Engineer 2 for 130 days. In 2001 he became the first Australian citizen to perform a space walk, riding the space shuttle Discovery to spend six and a half hours affixing components to the outside of the International Space Station. Thomas has gained a great variety of honours and awards including the NASA Exceptional Service Medal; the Yuri Gagarin Medal; the Order of Friendship from Russia and Kazakhstan; the award for Professional Engineer of the Year from the Institution of Engineers Australia; and South Australian of the Year.

Meet the panel

Sarah Gun
Founder, GOGO events

Sarah Gun is an award-winning innovator, disruptor, thought leader and crusader for a socially equitable world.
Sarah is the Founder of GOGO Events, a B Corp accredited bespoke event and design management social business employing people experiencing homelessness. In the past six years, she has created over 750 job outcomes for 85 individuals who are on their journey out of homelessness. This innovative and award-winning model was just the beginning for Sarah. To further her commitment to bring the social enterprise sector to scale in South Australia, Sarah recently founded Social Change Headquarters. With a mission to bring together complex networks, foster innovation and partnerships, and champion social procurement models, Social Change Headquarters is poised to support South Australia’s emergence into the new social economy.

Professor Anton Middelberg
Executive Dean, Faculty of Engineering Computer & Math Sciences, The University of Adelaide

Professor Anton Middelberg is the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences at The University of Adelaide. Prior to this he was Pro Vice Chancellor (Research and International) and Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) at The University of Queensland. Professor Middelberg is an internationally-recognised research and thought leader in chemical and biomolecular engineering. His research is fundamental but directed toward significant problems including in the health and advanced bio-manufacturing sectors.

Jim Whalley
Chief Entrepreneur for South Australia, Government of South Australia

Jim is the Chair and co-founder of innovative defence industry company Nova Systems. He is a former air force fighter pilot and test pilot and holds a Master of Business Administration, a science degree and has completed the Harvard Business School OPM Executive Education Program. Jim is a member of the Sir Ross and Keith Smith Advisory Committee, the Council of the University of South Australia, the board of the Adelaide Festival, the Federal Government's Defence Innovation Steering Group and a non-executive director of Australian Naval Infrastructure.

Meet the chair

Lainie Anderson
Journalist and Author of 'Long Flight Home'

Lainie has been a weekly columnist with the Sunday Mail since 2007 and in 2017 travelled the world on a Churchill Fellowship to gauge the significance of the 1919 Air Race. Lainie is currently the South Australian Epic Flight Centenary 2019 program ambassador and has written a historical fiction novel on the air race called 'Long Flight Home' .

Supported by CEDA member

Major sponsor

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