76 years ago today…..

It’s the first anniversary of the dedication of the Stinson Memorial on Burke and Wills Track, Mia Mia. Locals report that visitor numbers are steady and when the author visited today, there were three other visitors present at the time and engaged in quiet reading of the information board.

Over the preceding months, regular maintenance of the surrounding areas has seen the grass cut, a cut grass path connecting to the First Flight Monument maintained and the start of some planting of native trees around the site. The trees have been well cared for as they are all surviving despite the weather and rainfall patterns in this area.

A rosemary and purple statice spray was placed on the memorial today in remembrance of our relatives and friends on behalf of all those who could not be here in person.

International press coverage

Over the twelve months prior to the Memorial dedication, out researchers have tried to contact the descendants of all those who were aboard the Stinson. We had no success in finding the family of Harry Franklin Black, despite contacting the US consul, the State Department and other American contacts.

Further contacts with the press in the area where Harry and his family had lived has resulted in an article published in The Big Sandy News on Wednesday 17 June 2020. It is hoped that this article will bring to light family members and that they will know that Harry has been remembered in a place far from his home and loved ones.

Snapshots

The Mia Mia Community came together to support this project in many different ways. One aspect of the Memorial Dedication day that impressed visitors and locals alike was the generosity displayed in the provision of the refreshments after the service.

Of particular note was the wonderful decorated cake provided for the celebrations – thank you, Jodie! The Cake was ceremonially cut by Rob Chapman, chair of the Stinson Memorial Sub Committee, and was enjoyed by all present.

75 Years on

Welcomed to Country at the confluence of many significant aspects of Australia’s past, present and future by Justice Howard Nathan, about 120 people witnessed the dedication of the Stinson Memorial.

Master of Ceremonies, Howard Nathan, welcoming guests. In the background L: Rob Chapman (Stinson Memorial Sub-Committee Chair), R: Cr Bill Chisholm.

This morning’s ceremony was well attended by relatives, guests and the Mia Mia & Redesdale Communities. Guests included representatives from the Office of Lisa Chester M.P., Councillors and staff from the Shire of Mitchell, Kyneton RSL, Kyneton Aero Club and Civil Aviation Historical Society.

Relatives included members of the families of passengers Kerr, Lawn, Richardson and Tayleur. From within the local community present were witnesses to the event, many of whom were first on the scene or involved in the aftermath of the crash.

The ceremony included a flypast by Kyneton Aero Club members. The unveiling of the Memorial plaque was conducted by Bryan Kerr after which Bryan spoke on behalf of the relatives. For Bryan, this was a particularly poignant event as he was supposed to have been a passenger on this flight.

A number of wreaths were laid by family, Kyneton RSL, Australian Defence Association and the Mia Mia & Redesdale Communities.

The support and assistance of the Mia Mia C.F.A., St John Ambulance and the Mia Mia Mechanics Institute Hall Committee made today’s ceremony a fantastic event for all concerned.