Prior to leaving Bundy we traipsed off to the botanic gardens to visit the Hinkler Hall of Aviation.
It was a fair walk and we hoped after about an hour that the gardens weren't off limit to dogs ! Jacki has developed a ploy where she HAS TO stop and smell every bit of grass, every tree, every lamp pole, e v e r y t h i n g when she gets tired, so it was a long trek. I guess old age can be excused.
We were all pleased on arrival to find the gardens gorgeous and welcoming to all creatures and to top it off a fabulous cafe(cafe 1928) which served great coffee and had a tropical view was next to the aviation hall. Of course we all had a treat before AK ventured inside leaving everyone else lolling on the grass in the sun.
The hall celebrated the life of Bert Hinkler (1892-1933) who was born in Bundaberg and flew his first person-carrying glider at Mon Repos Beach (now famous as a turtle hatchery) in the early 1900's aided and abeted by his mum!
Bert left Australia for England as a young man to work with the Sopwith Company before flying in WW1 and later making the first South Atlantic solo flight and in 1928 a solo flight from England to Australia.
Bert built a house in Southhampton (England) and named it Mon Repos. It was destined to be demolished in the 1980's but thankfully a dedicated group of Bundaberg locals and bicentennial money saw the house relocated to its present spot. Mon Repos has been beautifully restored and if one dashes from room to room (as AK did) a cacophony of "Bert recordings" fills the house, with AK's favourite being "Bert" explaining to his partner that his long and frequent baths were not just for pleasure but rather conditioning for his flying!
Mon Repos House
The hall is amazing, the first interactive display being a glider test flight. The visitor is encouraged to lie on their stomach, hand on a joystick, while underneath the bench an aerial display of Mon Repos Beach is displayed. It really does feel like you're flying.
The second interactive display is a joy stick where the visitor can attempt to navigate from the hall to Bundaberg Aerodrome using a copy of Bert's famous mud maps. Yes Jacki, I managed to do it.
There are reproductions of Bert's aircraft...Avro Avian (you can sit in it), Ibis, Puss Moth and Avro Baby along with newsreels of Bert and a recording of the Hinkler Quickstep. Bert was a very popular lad in Australia, especially after landing his first aircraft in the main street of Bundaberg to visit his mum. The CWA developed recipes in his honour and songs were penned.
An original piece of Bert's first glider was sent into space on Challenger in 1986. After it exploded this small piece was found, mounted by NASA and returned to Australia. This takes pride of place in a theatrette.
A fantastic commemoration of an Australian pioneer (and the gardens were fantastic-Jacki & Ruby loved the beautifully manicured lawns but weren't so keen on the gregarious geese. Marg loved the green flowers).