Volunteers billed $5000 for Hinkler's number plates

AUTHENTIC: Bert Hinkler and his processional car, which is being restored in Bundaberg and is missing just one thing - its number plates.
AUTHENTIC: Bert Hinkler and his processional car, which is being restored in Bundaberg and is missing just one thing - its number plates.

IT'S the most historically significant number plate relating to the Bundaberg region - maybe the state.

But despite its historic importance Personalised Plates Queensland wants to charge Bundaberg volunteers $5000 for its use.

Q1152 was the number plate on Bert Hinkler's processional vehicle, a 1926 Armstrong Siddeley Tourer that carried Bundaberg's world conquering aviator during his welcome home parade on Brisbane's Queen St.

Queen St was packed with well-wishers as a triumphant Hinkler celebrated his world record-breaking solo flight from England to Australia in 1928.

The nationally significant vehicle has been saved by the Hinkler House Memorial Museum and Research Association after being found in pieces in a Brisbane garage.

It is now being painstakingly put back together by the group for inclusion in the Hinkler Hall of Aviation museum.

More than 3600 volunteer hours and close to $140,000 have gone into the project so far to protect a part of Australia's heritage and add to the Hinkler story.

The car is only one of four left in the world and the only original part missing is the number plate.

The build co-ordinator of the Armstrong Siddeley rebuild project, Frank Smith, approached Personalised Plates Queensland to see if the Q1152 plate was available.

It was - but at a cost of $5000, a large sum for a group struggling with restorations costs.

Mr Smith then asked PPQ if there was a way the plates could be made available to the organisation to add to the vehicle's authenticity.

PPQ came back and offered the organisation a $500 discount for the month of July.

Mr Smith said the organisation did not have the funds available to buy the plates in July and they missed the discount period.

They now have to pay full price to put the plates on the Siddeley.

Mr Smith hoped there was some way the State Government could donate the plates to the important project.

Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson and Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett have both backed the plan.

Ms Donaldson said this is great project.

"I am happy to lend my support," Ms Donaldson said.

"I will be writing to Minister Bailey to make representations on their behalf regarding supply of a replica plate."

Mr Bennett weighed in saying he was in full support of the hard-working group's call on the State Government to dig deep and forgo the $5000 cost of the special plates.

"It would go a long way towards acknowledging the special place that Bert Hinkler holds in Bundaberg - and Queensland's - history," Mr Bennett said.

"I'm looking forward to seeing common sense overcome bureaucracy and a quick resolution.".

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