On January 11, 1933, more than 1000 people gathered on Seven Mile Beach to farewell Charles Kingsford Smith as he took the Southern Cross on the first commercial flight between Australia and New Zealand.
Gerringong's Colin Sharpe, then just five years old, was among the onlookers, walking down to the beach with his parents from the family's dairy farm.
"The thing that impressed me was the size of the plane," Mr Sharpe recalled.
"And I remember the number of drums it took to refuel the plane . . . and the smell of aviation fuel was quite strong.
"Dad had to lift me up so I could see inside ... it was just amazing for a young person."
This month a series of events will be held in the Gerringong, Gerroa and Berry area to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the 1933 trans-Tasman flight.
The main events will take place on Saturday, January 12, with a formal ceremony at Black Head Reserve, Gerroa, featuring people who were on Seven Mile Beach that day in 1933.
January also features a day of activities at Berry's Beach including a vintage car display, HARS Museum display, memorabilia and activities and games for kids.
Organisers are hoping to have 1000 people gather on the beach at 1pm on January 12 to re-enact the 1933 assembly.
Margaret Sharpe said organisers were trying to get people who were on the beach in 1933 involved in the celebrations.
"Kingsford Smith was very good at advertising what he was about to do so people came from all around the districts of Nowra, Berry and Gerringong and others came by car from as far away as Sydney. Others were still in horse and sulkies."
Mrs Sharpe said in those days people would drive down on to Seven Mile Beach and when Kingsford Smith did eventually depart in the early hours of the Sunday morning, car headlights were used to light up the runway.
For more information about the celebrations visit the Facebook site "Kingsford Smith 80th".