Bundaberg grandmother Elaine Lyons has written a children's book, “Bert, The Boy Who Had a Dream” about pioneer aviator Bert Hinkler.
Elaine hopes to inspire children to follow their dreams after writing and illustrating the book about pioneer aviator Bert Hinkler.
Elaine moved to the Bundaberg Region almost two decades ago and became captivated by Bert’s journey after reading Grantlee Kieza’s book Bert – The Most Daring Man in the World.
Spending many hours in the Hinkler Hall of Aviation admiring Bert’s life, Elaine said she soon realised she couldn’t find a children’s books of the Bundaberg legend, and the in-depth publications that were available were sometimes too much for young readers to take in.
So with her 12 grandchildren in mind, Elaine put pen to paper and started on her four-year journey of researching to retell the life of the aviation pioneer who came from humble beginnings at Bundaberg North to achieve courageous feats around the world.
“I kept telling my grandkids about this wonderful Bundaberg boy who was so focused, so clever and brave, and I thought there was nothing available for them to read themselves,” she said.
“I read Grantlee Kieza’s book, and I had always heard about Bert Hinkler, but holy smoke he was incredible!
“And as I kept taking the grandkids to the (Hinkler) Hall of Aviation I thought if I wrote all of the history down they could read it.
“Grantlee’s book is just packed full of information – I don’t know how he did it, there’s an enormous amount of facts – because Bert had a really busy aviation career and so I thought I better condense all of this down and pull out the facts and main points that kids will be interested in.”
Bert, The Boy Who Had a Dream
Elaine said capturing the imagination of children as they read Bert, The Boy Who Had a Dream was made easier by the extraordinary adventures Bert had during his life.
“I have pulled out the pieces of his life, like when he took animals on his plane with him, such as the time he took a small marmoset monkey that was given to him in South America and he took it back to London with him,” she said.
“Then in Bundaberg they gave him a magpie that he wanted to take back on the plane, so I put little things like that to spark their interest.”
Bert, The Boy Who Had a Dream is full of watercolour and gouache paintings that delicately capture the essence of the young boy as he grew into a man in the Bundaberg Region.
The iconic Bundaberg railway bridge, Woodbine Cottage – the house Bert’s father, Johann Hinkler, built at 69 Gavin Street, Bundaberg North, along with he and his father’s time at The Foundry, Bert’s first test flight at Mon Repos, and the young man’s captivation of birds including the Australian White Ibis, are all mentioned in the children’s book.
“My hope is to get Bert’s story out there to kids,” Elaine said.
“I think it’s important to highlight the history of the region and for kids to know about it.
“I think it gives them a sense of pride in their district, and Bundaberg has a lot of heroes, like Gladys Moncrieff and Don Tallon, and I think it is very important they know about that and get a sense of pride in their community.
“Bert was incredible and Bundaberg is very lucky to have had such a man.”
Elaine said Bert, The Boy Who Had a Dream was made possible with the help of her husband, Bruce, and she gave a special thank you to graphic designer Berni David, who gave her invaluable assistance to publish the book.
Bert, The Boy Who Had a Dream is now available at Art Plus and Dymocks Bundaberg.