Bert Hinkler was a man fascinated by flight. His captivation with the wonders of air travel took him across the world, made him a pioneer in his field, and forever earned him a place in the hearts of millions.
The true miracle of his short but celebrated life story comes from his origins in regional Australia. Herbert John Louis (Bert) Hinkler AFC DSM was born in Bundaberg, Queensland on 8 December 1892, the son of a sugar mill worker. By the age of 19 Bert had hand-built man-carrying gliders and already flew them successfully at picturesque Mon Repos Beach near Bundaberg.
Late in 1913, Bert left the tropical surrounds of Bundaberg for England, where he worked with the Sopwith Company, later serving with distinction during World War 1 and being awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. In 1919 Bert joined AV Roe & Co in Southampton and from 1921 to 1926 was Chief Test Pilot. Bert’s passion was now allowing him to soar to new and exciting heights in an ambitious career. Between 1920 and 1931 Bert carved his young name as a respected pioneer aviator creating many aviation records, with his most renowned achievements including a pioneering solo flight from England to Australia in 1928 and the world’s first solo flight across the South Atlantic in 1931.
Sadly, Bert’s pioneering attempts came to an abrupt end on 7 January 1933 when he died whilst attempting another solo flight from England to Australia. To this day, he is buried in Florence, Italy, but his achievements are celebrated throughout the world, nowhere more so than in his home of Bundaberg.
For more information on Bert Hinkler visit www.hinklerresearch.org.au