Bundaberg’s Herbert John Louis Hinkler (Bert) Hinkler was a pioneer Australian aviator and inventor. He designed and built early aircraft before being the first person to fly solo from England to Australia, and the first person to fly solo across the Southern Atlantic Ocean. He married in 1932 at the age of 39, and died less than a year later after crashing into remote countryside near Florence, Italy during a solo flight record attempt.
Newly digitised letters from Bert Hinkler to his mother and family are now available to view via State Library of Queensland catalogue One Search. These historically significant handwritten letters provide, in Bert’s own words, early aviation experiences, how he was developing aviation inventions and his remarkable accounting of aviation feats. This talented young man quickly moved to the world stage as the public became aware of unimaginable solo flights and the development of his aviation patents that changed flight forever.
The remarkable letters are now fully accessible to researchers, students and the world, due to recent changes in the Australian Copyright Act. As of January, all unpublished works have a standard term of either life of the author plus 70 years or 70 years from creation regardless of whether they are published or not. Thus, Bert’s letters are now out of copyright, providing unprecedented access to one of Queensland’s most extraordinary heroes.
Hinkler’s letters can now be viewed online through State Library of Queensland’s One Search catalogue.
C. Cottle – Specialist Librarian, State Library of Queensland