Lt Col Brinsmead & Bert Hinkler - c.1928

The 1920s and '30s was a time when aviation was developing apace and records were seemingly being broken every other week. One of the 'perks'of being the head of the Civil Aviation Branch was the pleasure of meeting the great pilots of this pioneering age.

This photo shows the Controller of Civil Aviation, Lt Col Horace Brinsmead, left, with Bert Hinkler, centre, and Mr Gould of the British Imperial Oil Co., right, at a dinner in honour of Hinkler given by British Imperial Oil at the Menzies Hotel, Melbourne. The date of the photo is unknown, but is thought to be in 1928 following Hinkler's solo flight from England to Australia in Avro Avian G-EBOV, February 7-22, 1928.

Hinkler's achievement was remarkable for the day and he received many accolades and awards including: the AFC; the Royal Geographical Society of Australia/Asia Medal; the Thompson Foundation Gold Medal for services to science of aviation; a Gold cigarette case presented by Prime Minister Hon. S.M. Bruce, bearing the Australian Coat of Arms; the Britannia Challenge Trophy; the Oswald Watt Medal; and the Federation Aeronautique International Gold Medal.

British Imperial Oil was the Australian subsidiary of Asiatic Petroleum Co. Ltd., renamed as in those racist days it was thought that the name 'Asiatic' might not go down too well in Australia. The business was re-titled the Shell Co. of Australia Ltd. in 1927. British Imperial Oil, and their main rivals in the aviation business Vacuum Oil (later Mobil), both sponsored numerous attempted record setting flights as a means of advertising their products.

Built in 1867, the Menzies Hotel was located on the corner of Bourke and William Streets in central Melbourne. It was said to be the best hotel in Australia, and among the finest in the world. Among many other notables, Capt. Sir P.G. Taylor stayed at the Menzies when in Melbourne. The Menzies Hotel was demolished in 1969.

(Photo: CAHS collection)

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