Aviation pioneer, Bert Hinkler hailed from the Queensland township of Bundaberg.
Renowned for his solo long distance feats in the frail aircraft of yesteryear, his most famous achievement was his flight from England to Australia. This epic flight in 1928 was achieved in a small Avro Avian biplane with his primary means of navigation being a copy of ‘The Times Atlas’. However, in 1931 his most amazing effort was to fly from Canada to New York then non-stop to Jamaica, then to Venezuela, Guyana, Brazil, and across the South Atlantic to Africa. Some of this flight was conducted in the most hideous weather, forcing Hinkler down towards the waves.
Today, he is revered and remembered in his home town with both a museum and his English home, which was transferred to Australia; brick by brick. Recently opened, the museum pays tribute to the man and his achievements through artefacts and interactive features to ensure entertainment and interest for young and old. However, to walk through his home, one can almost hear the walls speak. Epic flights that were planned in these rooms and aviation identities of the times would have enjoyed a cup of tea in the sitting room. The past is so very tangible in ‘Mon Repos’, named after the Bundaberg beach where he made his first fledgling glider flights.
Bert Hinkler, a great aviation pioneer from Australia’s rural region. One man to remember in 2010 and the Australian centenary of powered flight.