Mon Repos boulder begins journey to Hinkler crash site
A BASALT boulder has begun its journey from the beach of Mon Repos, where Bert Hinkler first experimented with solo aviation, to the Italian Alps where it will mark the crash site which claimed his life.
Dignitaries, aviation enthusiasts and those who have and will continue to play a role in the transportation of the boulder, 82 years after Bert Hinkler's death on January 7, 1933, watched on as three Royal Queensland Aero Club planes flew overhead to mark the momentous occasion.
The boulder will now be transported free of charge by Toll Holdings to Italy, where it will be shaped by Italian stonemasons and placed where Hinkler's body was found following his attempt to break the solo flight record from London to Australia.
Brisbane aviation enthusiast Kevin Lindeberg first suggested the idea before rallying support from Bundaberg Regional Council and the State and Federal governments.
He said the boulder at the crash site would bring together the beginning and end of Hinkler's career.
"It's not beyond reason, due to its size, to think that Bert could well have sat on this boulder and dreamed his dreams," he said.
The location will form part of the Hinkler Ring, a trekking track expected to draw visitors from all over Italy, Europe and the world.
Bundaberg Mayor Mal Forman said the blemish-free boulder was deemed the appropriate size to allow the stonemasons to produce a fitting memorial, expected to be unveiled at a ceremony in Italy on July 26 this year.
"Bert Hinkler is warmly regarded as our hometown aviation hero and is well-known throughout the region for his daring feats, so it is heartening to see him being recognised internationally," he said.
Hinkler House Memorial Association president Lex Rowland said the removing of the rock was a very poignant part of Bundaberg's history.
"With the images that will be flashed around Australia today, I think everyone should be very proud," he said.