Two Restless Spirits: Harry Hawker & Bert Hinkler

Advance notice of author talk 18 June 2022

Drawing on selected images from across the world, in this personal presentation Brisbane-based author D R (Darryl) Dymock compares the spectacular but very different life journeys and tragic endings of two remarkable Australian aviation pioneers: Harry Hawker and Bert Hinkler.

Saturday 18 June 2pm -3pm, St Matthews Church Hall,

cnr Sherwood & Oxley Rds Sherwood, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Books for sale on the day

Can’t make it to the talk? You can still order both books through any bookshop, including Avid Reader, Brisbane and Riverbend Books, Brisbane, Queensland. Or download the e-book online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Booktopia, or check out ABE Books in the US.

Print ISBN: 9781925380415

e-book ISBN: 9781925380453

While other Nashos were fighting in Vietnam, Australian Army quietly sent conscripted Education Taskforce to PNG

We had a great State Library (SLQ) session on Sunday morning 29 May 2022 at Anzac Square Memorial Galleries, Brisbane. Four other ‘Chalkies‘ and I recalled our experiences as conscripted Army teachers in Papua New Guinea 1966-73.

An amazing selection of images from the time, professionally assembled by Mt Nebo Multimedia. Terrific backup from SLQ’s Alice and Greg.

The author, centre, with other National Service recruits, 3 Training Battalion, Singleton, NSW, early 1969
Troops of 1 Pacific Islands Regiment, Education class, Taurama Barracks, TPNG, c1970
Trooping the Colour, Taurama Barracks, TPNG, c1968

Thanks to librarian India Dixon, the videos will be added to the State Library of Queensland resource collection as part of their military memories program.

This is the book of the videos!

Until next time

Darryl Dymock

Harry Hawker the movie?: ‘A grand narrative set in marvellous locations’

Readers are responding very positively to my latest book, A Great and Restless Spirit: the incredible true story of Harry Hawker.

One of them told me it was ‘a grand narrative set in marvellous locations’, and suggested it would make a great movie.

‘a grand narrative set in marvellous locations’

The other good news, especially for regional and international readers, is that ‘A Great and Restless Spirit’ is now available as an e-book.

Print ISBN: 9781925380415

Print copy available from Avid Reader bookshop, Brisbane, Australia or you can order it through any other good bookshop.

e-book ISBN: 9781925380453

Already the e-book is available in different formats, including:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=9781925380453&crid=2IQ7IAR0RW49A&sprefix=9781925380453%2Caps%2C1358&ref=nb_sb_noss

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-great-and-restless-spirit-darryl-r-dymock/1141254251?ean=9781925380453

Keep an eye out for the movie!

Until next time

Darryl Dymock

‘When a full 24 hours had passed without any contact, no one had to say what that meant …’ – Exclusive book extract

Exclusive extract from ‘A Great and Restless Spirit’ by D R Dymock:

Unaware of the mid-ocean drama, Muriel continued to mark off the hours Harry had been in the air. As the day went on, she began to prepare to head over to Brooklands, hopeful she would soon be reunited with her husband. There was quiet anticipation among the Sopwith representatives, military officers, and government and aero club officials gathered at Brooklands that Monday afternoon, 19 May, 1919. It promised to be a momentous occasion for the future of cross-Atlantic travel and for British aviation.

Muriel and her brother, RAF Captain Laurence Peaty, had driven over from Hook in the Sunbeam. Word had come through that the American fliers were trapped in the Azores by the weather, so NC-4 had not yet been able to make the final hop. There was still a possibility that Harry and Grieve could claim the transatlantic gong.

Nevertheless there was also an undercurrent of anxiety about the two fliers. No messages had been received; no sightings reported. Based on the reported Sunday departure time from Newfoundland, by Muriel’s 22-hour timeline the Atlantic should touch down at Brooklands at around 4.30pm. Unlike some others, she wasn’t worried by the lack of contact with the plane because she knew Harry and Grieve weren’t counting on the wireless during the flight.

But as the afternoon ticked by, concern started to grow. The Royal Air Force sent planes out from its Aldergrove base in Ireland to probe along the transatlantic route, but the pilots came back with nothing to report.

When Muriel crossed off hour number 22, and there was still no sign of the plane, the tension among the waiting group must have been palpable. They all knew that by then the Sopwith’s fuel tank would be close to empty. When a full 24 hours had passed without any contact, no one had to say what that meant.

Title: A Great and Restless Spirit: The incredible true story of Harry Hawker, Australian test pilot, aircraft designer, car racing driver, speedboat racer, world-beater

Author: D R Dymock

ISBN: 9781925380415

Publisher: Armour Books, Brisbane

RRP: AU$33.99 paperback

Publication date: March 2022

A poet and a king thought this pilot was dead, but …

High-profile mystery plane crashes have confounded and intrigued the world since flight began – but this dramatic true story was the first.

A Great And Restless Spirit by D R Dymock tells of the disappearance of record-breaking Australian pilot Harry Hawker and his navigator over the Atlantic Ocean in 1919… and of how kings and nations were captivated by the event. The book has just been released.

A transatlantic feat

In May 1919, 30-year-old Harry Hawker and his navigator attempted the first transatlantic flight, from Newfoundland to Ireland, and in a plane with no radio or radar.

Millions waited for news of their triumph – but the plane never arrived. After six days, and with no sightings or leads, almost everyone gave them up for dead. Banjo Paterson wrote a eulogy for Harry’s passing. King George V sent Harry’s English wife, Muriel Hawker, a telegram of condolence. But Muriel refused to believe her husband was dead.

If things don’t go quite right, never give up hope, Harry had told Muriel before he left. She took him at his word.

‘As there seemed to be two sides to the question whether he was alive or not, and no definite proof of either,’ Muriel said, ‘I decided I’d cling firmly to the belief that he was alive.’

An extraordinary life

Muriel Hawker’s faith in her daredevil husband had reaped rewards before. Harry’s ‘need for speed’ made him a fierce competitor in car and speedboat races around the globe and, when he wasn’t racing, Harry designed and tested WWI planes.

His boss, aviation guru Tommy Sopwith, believed Harry was a genius – but Muriel kept her husband’s feet firmly on the ground. Would this remarkable woman’s hope be rewarded this time, too?

In A Great and Restless Spirit, author D R  Dymock tells the incredible true story of Harry Hawker MBE AFC and the woman who refused to give up on him.

About the author: D R (Darryl) Dymock (author site) is the Brisbane-based author of several well-received non-fiction books, including Hustling Hinkler and The Chalkies. This is his second aviation biography. He is a mentor with the Queensland Writers Centre, and an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at Griffith University.

About the book:

Armour Books, Brisbane | AU$33.99 paperback | ISBN: 9781925380415

Available through Avid Reader Bookshop, Brisbane or order through any other good bookshop.

A Great and Restless Spirit: Harry Hawker THE VIDEO

I’d like to introduce you to Harry Hawker, the subject of my latest book, A Great and Restless Spirit. And below you can find a link to the YouTube video.

ISBN: 978-1-925380-415

Harry Hawker was an Australian-born test pilot, aircraft designer, racing car driver, speedboat racer, and all-round world-beater.

In his day he was a celebrity before there were celebrities.

But he wasn’t looking for fame. All he wanted to do was push the boundaries.

He had a dream of speed that he pursued throughout his whole, regrettably short, life.

I wanted to write about Harry Hawker firstly because of the way he insisted on pushing the boundaries in the air, on the racetrack and on the water. But I’m also fascinated by what made him ‘a great and restless spirit’.

And how did his wife Muriel cope with that insistent restlessness, especially when it became life-threatening?

You can register for the in-store and online book launch at Avid Reader Bookshop, West End, Brisbane, at 6.30pm AEST Friday 25 March here

YOUTUBE VIDEO: You can see a sneak preview of what’s in the book in the YouTube video by clicking here

I hope to meet up with you if you’re in the Brisbane area. Perhaps sign a book 🙂 Otherwise I’d love to hear from you whether you’re elsewhere in Australia or in another country.

Until next time

D R (Darryl) Dymock

D R Dymock: A Great and Restless Spirit: The incredible true story of Harry Hawker Publication date: March 2022

ISBN: 978-1-925380-415

Order through all good bookshops, including Avid Reader, Brisbane: avidreader.com.au

Book launch 25 March: A Great and Restless Spirit


Harry Hawker MBE AFC (1889-1921) Image: George Grantham Bain Collection., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Dear friends and colleagues near and far

If you’re free and in the vicinity, I’d love to see you at the Brisbane launch of my new book on Friday evening, 25 March, 2022. (Covid permitting!).

The book is called A Great and Restless Spirit: The incredible true story of Australian Harry Hawker – test pilot, aircraft designer, racing car driver, speedboat racer, world-beater.

It will be published by an independent Brisbane publisher, Armour Books.

If Victorian-born Harry Hawker MBE AFC (1889-1921) was alive today, he’d be churning desert dust in the Dakar rally, strapped in a rocket on a SpaceX flight, or taking pole position on the Formula 1 start line.


Harry Hawker helped design and test numerous successful wartime aircraft in Britain in WWI. He was also a a master of looping the loop.
  • Hawker moved to England at age 22, and in his day flew faster, higher and for longer than anyone else in Britain. His one need was speed. And if he couldn’t find it in the air, he was a fierce competitor in racing cars and international speedboat races.
  • When he wasn’t racing, Hawker was designing and testing WWI planes. His boss, aviation guru Tommy Sopwith, was convinced the Australian was a genius.
  • In the book you’ll also meet Harry’s remarkable wife, Muriel, who mostly kept his feet on the ground. But even she worried about his need to go where no man had ever gone before.
  • And in the background there bubbled away an underlying weakness that would eventually contribute to Harry Hawker’s death in a flaming solo plane crash. He was just 32 years of age.

When he wasn’t in the air, Harry took to car and speedboat racing. Image: Copyright Brooklands Museum.

I hope you might be able to join me for the launch of A Great and Restless Spirit at Avid Reader Bookshop, West End, Brisbane at 6.30pm on 25 March. It should be a good occasion, and there’s no obligation to buy😊.

Please put the date in your diary. You’ll be able to register nearer the time on the Avid Reader website: avidreader.com.au

And if you’re not from Brisbane, please keep watch for the book’s publication. I hope it will be available in both print and electronic form.

Please feel free to pass this message on, or to post it on social media. All welcome.

Best regards

Darryl Dymock

What a great book launch!

Writers Group Convenor Darryl Dymock introduces writer John Brown, the founding Shed president

We had a great launch of the Oxley Men’s Shed anthology, Offcuts: Stories from the Shed, on Saturday 27 November in Brisbane. Nine men from the Shed contributed to the collection, and the first (modest) print run sold out! 70 to 80 people turned up to hear a brilliant launch by local Councillor Nicole Johnston, listen to music from the band Crossed Fingers, and enjoy a scrumptious morning tea.

Shed President Martin Rankine makes the welcome

This is no ordinary collection of stories. It draws on the varied experiences of nine men who have led very different lives, but whose paths have eventually crossed at Oxley Men’s Shed.
In this book these mostly first-time writers have taken the opportunity to share some of their fascinating stories from the past with their families and with the wider community. Many of these are never-before-told tales, entertaining anecdotes that not only illuminate the writers’ earlier lives, but often trigger our own memories too.

In these stories we meet a former fitter and turner who as a boy decided to see what would happen when he packed gunpowder from leftover fireworks into a fruit tin and lit the fuse; a retired meat inspector who had to escape hand over hand down a rope off a high church roof when his ladder collapsed; an ex-plumber who starred in a Bollywood movie and dodged bombs and bullets while driving a tour bus in the Middle East; a former photographer who once had the ultimate hand in a boarding house poker game; and a retired insurance underwriter who relives his late-night dash home to dive under the bedclothes before the resident ghost appeared.

Crossed Fingers Band

Then there’s a Vietnamese veteran driving an Army forklift who literally backed himself into an embarrassing corner with his commanding officer; an ex-teacher who was driving his prized first car through South Brisbane when the back seat caught fire; a former electrician who turned jackaroo to help out his mate on a cattle drive in northern NSW; and a retired agronomist who as a young man led a hiking group down a mountain during a cyclone, with intriguing romantic results.

This is a heady mix of yarns from a group of writers keen to tell their often remarkable stories – sometimes humorous, occasionally hair-raising, but always from the heart.

Offcuts: Stories from the Shed, Armour Books, Brisbane.

Publication date: November 2021

ISBN: 978-1-925380-378

BOOK LAUNCH COMING UP!

BOOK LAUNCH

Saturday 27 November 2021

9.30am for 10am

St John’s Community Hall: 18 California Rd,

Oxley, Brisbane, Australia

Councillor Nicole Johnston

will launch

Offcuts: Stories from the Shed

An anthology of life stories written by Oxley Men’s Shed members

A heady mix of yarns – often remarkable, sometimes humorous, occasionally hair-raising, but always from the heart

Published by Armour Books, Corinda, Queensland

A poem for Anzac Day*

  They do not know

D R Dymock

(A poem triggered by a comment from my late mother that people who weren’t there didn’t understand what it was like to live through WWII)

They do not know,

those who came after,

how the bugle call sounded

and the men went away;

when ration cards sold

in back streets of the city

and meat cost as much

as a decent week’s pay.

They do not know,

those with buds in their ears,

how we listened to rumours

of invasion to come;

how we lived with anxiety,

with gossip and blackouts,

and ran for the shelters

but refused to succumb.

They do not know,

those folk on high salaries,

how we once had sweet fun

on minimal pay

in the arms of young soldiers

at dances and parties

knowing the foe

was just islands away.

They do not know,

the punters and brokers,

how we bet on the future

with our wounded and dead;

not knowing if lovers

would ever come back,

not knowing if there were

more dark days ahead.

They do not know,

those planning grand houses,

that there was a time

we had hopes and dreams too;

but our visions were clouded

by tears for the dying;

the best we could pray was

we’d all see it through.

They do not know,

those who came after,

of that unreal existence

when nothing was sure,

or why we still yearn

for missed fun and laughter:

those who grew up

when the world was at war.

Copyright Darryl Dymock 2021

*Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”. It is observed on 25 April each year, the anniversary of the landing of Australian, New Zealand and British troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915.

https://www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/anzac-day/traditions