Bert Hinkler toys are just plane awesome
YOU can never be too old to play with toys and after adding an antique plane to his collection, one man’s hobby has reached a new high.
At the age of nine, Luke Jones started delivering newspapers through the streets of his hometown in North Adelaide and was looking for ways to spend his earnings.
“An artist friend who was living at the time in the north of Italy, visited my family and said that antique toys were popular in Europe and that I should consider them for a collection,” Mr Jones said.
“A couple of weeks later there was a toy auction in Adelaide, so I went along with my father and bought a couple of antique toys and have never stopped collecting.”
Mr Jones has been collecting Australian manufactured toys ever since and recently added a tin-plate replica of Bert Hinkler’s plane.
But it isn't the first Hinkler-inspired piece Mr Jones has sourced, after discovering a paper plane many years ago too.
“These Hinkler plane toys are really good examples of what I enjoy … those that have a direct connection to actual historical events,” Mr Jones said.
“They are both incredibly rare toys and the association with such an important Australian from the 1920s was enough for me to want them in my collection.”
Sourcing antique toys from everywhere and anywhere, the father-of-two usually relies on auction rooms, antique shops, other collectors and eBay.
“The paper plane was sold to me by an Adelaide dealer who in turn had bought it from a dealer in the Adelaide Hills who I believe sourced most of his items from the local dumps, so it’s incredible that the plane survived at all,” Mr Jones said.
“I absolutely love the research element of my collecting … the more I can understand the history of each toy and how they belonged in the context of their time, the more I enjoy owning them.”
In addition to the Hinkler planes, the architect’s extensive collection includes planes to celebrate the Smith Brothers flying from London in 1919, South Australian hero Harry Butler in the early 1920s and Kingsford Smith’s Southern Cross plane.
But two toys that will always hold a special place in his heart were made in the early 1930s, by Melbourne manufacturer Leckie and Gray.
“It is of course hard to pick a toy here, but there is one that seems to put a smile on my face every time I look at it and I think this Ginger Meggs tambourine is a really fun Australian toy,” Mr Jones said.
“Another beauty is the Minties aeroplane which was a sweet container and doubled as a toy when the Minties were finished.”
Mr Jones also published a book last year entitled ‘Australian Toys – A Collection’.