Italy unveils memorial for Australian pioneer aviator

Aug 7, 2015 Dignitaries from Australia, Britain and Italy took part in the unveiling ceremony of a memorial monument in honor of Australian aviator Bert Hinkler in the mountains near Arezzo, Italy, where the where the aviation pioneer died in the 1930s.

Hinkler, acquired international attention in 1928 after making the first ever solo flight from England to Australia. He crashed his plane on the Pratomagno Mountain on January 7, 1933 while attempting a record-breaking flight from the United Kingdom to Australia.

The monument is centered around a 1.4 tonne basalt boulder removed from Mon Repos Beach in Australia, where Hinkler first started flying. It also includes an 8.4 kilometer hiking path in the surrounding mountains called ‘The Hinkler Ring’.

Hinkler is honored for his role as a Royal Air Force pilot during World War I. After fighting in the skies above Belgium and France, he flew with RAF pilots in northern Italy around 1918, in the aftermath of the battle of Caporetto.

Australian ambassador Mike Rann, while speaking at the ceremony said:

”In Australia and here in Italy he must remain an inspiration to us all. It’s Bert Hinkler’s lasting legacy,”

After he made the first solo flight from Canada to England via the South Atlantic in 1931, Hinkler received a hero’s welcome at Hanworth Aerodrome in the UK.

Prior to that, he was greeted by thousands in 1928 after his record-breaking flight from England to Australia in 16 days.

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