Hinkler’s letters home reveal remarkable insights into aviator’s life

By his thirties, Queensland’s own Bert Hinkler had a number of notable aviation accomplishments under his belt.

Born in Bundaberg in 1892, Herbert John Louis Hinkler was fanatic about flight from childhood, successfully experimenting with homemade gliders as early as 1911.

The first person to fly solo from England to Australia and to fly solo across the Southern Atlantic Ocean, Hinkler is also credited with several aviation inventions that changed flight forever.

But his story came to an untimely end in 1933 on a solo flight from England to Australia, when his plane crashed in Mt Protomango in Italy.

As custodian of Queensland’s memory, State Library holds a significant collection of letters and items that provide insights to Hinkler’s life and career.

The Bert Hinkler collection includes:

  • telegrams of congratulation on his flight from England to Darwin, 1928
  • patent specifications for various inventions of flying machines
  • correspondence mainly from Hinkler to his family, 1913–1929
  • a certificate of service Royal Navy, 1914–1919
  • a large collection of newspaper cuttings spanning his career and cutting book on aviation and black-and-white photographs.

Hinkler’s letters home reveal deeply personal recounts of his adventures abroad and provide a fascinating perspective to his achievements.

The letters have been digitised so you can read them online now. You can also listen to a 1928 recording of Hinkler's message to Australia following his record flight.


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Is it true that when Bert Hinkler was killed when he flew into the Mountain in Italy that Mussolini gave him a state funeral as Mussolini loved flying and being a pilot himself,had great respect for what Bert Hinkler acheived.

Hi Jack,

Bert was buried with full military honours after a state funeral.

You might be interested in these newspaper articles and double page spread of photos:

We also have a small collection of photos of the wreckage, funeral procession and service: http://onesearch.slq.qld.gov.au/permalink/f/fhnkog/slq_alma211485766700….

Thank you for confirming that as i had read a book about him. Great reading the newspaper articles and the respect shown to him. Amazing pioneer.