Hinkler Hall Museum to take off next year

RON Hinkler hopes to relive the moment in 1928 he first saw his uncle take off, when he walks through the doors of the Hinkler Hall of Aviation.

Wings spanning out in an inspiration of flight will welcome visitors to the story of Bert Hinkler when the hall in his honour is opened at the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens at the end of 2007.

"I can go back to 1928 when Bert first flew and I've always told my grandchildren that everytime he flew, he wasn't flying into Australia, he was flying into Bundaberg," Mr Hinkler said.

"I think (the hall concept) is wonderful and the family thinks it is a really good recognition of him."

The company appointed the tender to design the long-awaited Hinkler of Aviation - Interpretive Solutions revealed the secrets of the museum to the NewsMail yesterday.

The hall, which is jointly funded by the federal government and Bundaberg City Council, with a contribution from the state government has a budget of more than $5.4 million.

The project's director, Michael James, said the museum would feature two buildings - a new hall and the existing Hinkler House.

"They will be joined together to sell the story of Bert Hinkler, the new building will be about his achievements and Hinkler House will be used to tell the personal story about the man," Mr James said.

"The building will be big enough to hold airplanes and multimedia displays. There will be a mixture of dioramas of key moments in his life, his feats and world records, but the focus will be on Bert and his love of flying.

"It will show how a local Bundaberg man became an international celebrity."

The hall will be situated adjacent to Hinkler House at the Botanic Gardens.

Bert Hinkler enthusiast and long-time lobbyist for the hall, Lex Rowland has been pivotal in the project's development and will be an advisor to the project.

"There will be experiences for the kids and the mums and dads and the large sector of 45 to 55 year olds."

Mr Hinkler was disappointed that the state government could not provide more funding.

Mr James said the project committee was looking at avenues for corporate sponsorship.

The tender for construction will go out by the end of this year and a builder will be appointed by January 2007. Construction would start straight away with an opening scheduled before Christmas.

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