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Bert Hinkler
, 1930s

by Nison Tregor

cast metal with gold finish (including base: 16.5 cm x 9.5 cm depth 6.7 cm)

Bert Hinkler (1892–1933), aviator, was born in Bundaberg and worked in various jobs before moving to Brisbane to pursue his interest in aircraft. He learned mechanics by correspondence and in 1913 went to England, where he found work with the Sopwith Aviation Company. He enlisted with the Royal Naval Air Service in 1914, later earning the Distinguished Service Medal for his role as an air gunner. After the war, he worked for the British aircraft manufacturer AV Roe & Co (Avro) as a mechanic and test pilot and during the same period achieved the first in a series of aviation feats. These included a non-stop flight between Sydney and Bundaberg in 1921; the first solo flight from England to Australia (1928); and a record-breaking 1931 flight from Canada to England across the South Atlantic. Having won many awards for these and other feats, on 7 January 1933 Hinkler set out on an attempt to break the flying record between England and Australia but then disappeared. His body and the wreckage of his plane were found in the Apennines in Italy in late April and he was buried in Florence with full military honours.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased with funds provided by Alan Foulkes in memory of Mark Graham Cleghorn 2012
Accession number: 2012.195