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Wednesday 9 April 2014


Hinkler Memorial Park is in Warialda St Katoomba, between Katoomba St and Lurline St. What distinguishes it from most other parks in the Blue Mountains is that it offers both a shelter shed and toilets as well as a children’s play area and a pleasant environment. It may not be very large but it is certainly very popular. You will probably only have it to yourself on a wet day.
Apparently the place was known as Lurline St Park before 1933, though I have been unable to find anything to suggest that there were any facilities there at all. All that was to change.
Herbert John Louis Hinkler (always known simply as Bert Hinkler) was born in Bundaberg, Queensland, in 1892. His interest in flying went back to his childhood and it was no surprise that he served, first in the Royal Naval Air Service and then in the RAF during the First World War, concluding the war as a pilot in Italy in 1918.
He was catapulted to fame in 1928 when he became the first person to fly solo from England to Australia, taking just under 15 ½ days. An unassuming man, Bert became an advocate for the aeroplane as he flew many new routes, solo whenever possible. He was killed in Italy in January 1933 when his plane crashed as he sought to break the new solo flight record to Australia of 8 days and 20 hours. He was greatly admired and Australians everywhere mourned his passing.                     
Hinkler Park 1938
The Katoomba Municipal Council determined to honour his memory by creating the park we know today. As you can see from the photographs and my video (here) they did a great job. See the Sydney Morning Herald article about the opening here.
Commemorative plaque on shelter
You might also enjoy hearing the man himself speak on a recording here
There is one small mystery you might like to help solve. At the top of the plaque commemorating the opening, which is on the side of the shelter shed, there is an engraving of what I assume was one of Hinkler’s planes. It is not the one he flew on the record breaking flight in 1928. Is it perhaps the one in which he was killed in 1933?

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1 comment:

  1. It is the plane he was flying on his last flight. De havilland puss moth