A life-long passion honoured

AS a message boy in North Bundaberg, Lex Rowland would sometimes run into Bert Hinkler's mother.

“She was consumed with her son's successes and I was intrigued by the stories she would tell,” he said.

Those early conversations sparked a life-long interest in Mr Rowland about the adventures and achievements of the Bundaberg-born aviation hero.

And in the late 70s, when news came from Europe that Mr Hinkler's home was going to be dismantled, Mr Rowland saw a perfect opportunity to save the house by moving it to Bundaberg.

“We had to try and save what he put together,” Mr Rowland said.

The Hinkler House Memorial Museum and Research Association was born and has since played a major role in the construction of tourist attractions centred on Mr Hinkler's life.

The association and Mr Rowland, who is its president, has been involved with projects including the relocation of the Hinkler home to the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens and the Hinkler Hall of Aviation.

Mr Rowland and the hall of aviation were recognised at Saturday night's Central Queensland Southern Reef Regional Tourism Awards.

The president won an individual achievement award, while the Bundaberg Regional Council-owned hall won best new tourism development.

The ceremony was held at the city's botanic gardens and council tourism manager Craig Hodges said it was the perfect event for Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism to showcase the region, and the council to show off the gardens and the winning attraction. Other regional winners included Wide Bay Australia Bundy Thunder, Kelly's Beach Resort and Manta Bargara.

Winners • Capricorn Caves; Champions Brock Experience; Wide Bay Australia Bundy Thunder; The Horse and Carriage; Capricorn Tourism; Gladstone Area Promotion & Development; Emus Beach Resort; Kelly's Beach Resort; Mantra Pavilions Mirage on 1770; Manta Bargara; Hinkler Hall of Aviation; Lex Rowland OAM. She was consumed with her son's successes and I was intrigued by the stories she would tell Lex Rowland


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