Recount Australian history and celebrate the life of Bernard O’Reilly who heroically saved the lives of two plane crash survivors 80- years ago in World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park.
To commemorate the anniversary of the Stinson airliner’s disappearance on the 19th February, 1937 whilst flying from Brisbane to Sydney carrying five passengers and two pilots, two anniversary hikes will be held from O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat.
The Stinson flight facts
- Aircraft name was ‘City of Brisbane’, Registration VH-UHH
- Flight path from Archerfield airport in Brisbane to Sydney Airport via Lismore
- Crashed into terrain in Lamington National Park on the 19th February,1937
- The airliner was caught in the down-draft of a cyclone of probably one hundred miles per hour, and tossed in to the mountain
- The swift action of the pilots whereby banking the plane sharply into starboard saved the lives of the three men
- Three passengers survived the crash, however James Westray died later while searching for help
- After a nationwide search failed, Bernard O’Reilly found the plane nine days after it had crashed with two survivors -Joe Binstead and John Proud
Choose to retrace Bernard’s footsteps from O’Reilly’s to Christmas Creek (37-kilometres one way or 13-hours), or hike the Rescue Route (eight hours) from Christmas Creek up to the Stinson Wreck. Although shorter in distance (approx. 14-kilometres return), the Rescue Route is not to be taken lightly as it is an arduous trek that involves a very steep climb up to the crash site, including some scrambling, negotiating small rock faces and then the steep descent back down to Christmas Creek.
Both groups will culminate together near the crash site in the Western McPherson Range with freshly boiled billy tea and a commemorative service, before taking on the steep descent to Christmas Creek and visiting nearby Westray’s Grave.
O’Reilly’s Activities Coordinator Kaye Johnson recently had the pleasure of taking the Great Great Nephew of the crash victim James Westray to the grave and crash site on the 10th August, 2016.
“It was a great day full of emotions at both the sites,” Kaye recounts.
“Toby (Westray’s great great nephew) was exceptionally pleased to have the opportunity to partake in this historic and memorable walk to his great uncles site.
“Toby travelled from England not expecting to have the opportunity and was most grateful to O’Reilly’s to enable this to occur last minute.
“The walk itself is not easy but an enjoyable day was had by all.
“Toby mentioned that the memorabilia we have in our lounge is very similar to all they have at home in England.”