The Stinson Rescue
In February 1937 Australia was shocked to hear that a Stinson airline was reported missing on a flight from Brisbane. The news did not reach the Guesthouse for almost a week until Herb O'Reilly in Kerry informed his brother Bernard that it flew up the Kerry Valley and disappeared into cloud towards the McPherson Range.
According to reports, low cloud would have prevented it landing at Lismore where passengers were waiting, but numerous sightings of the Stinson were reported over the Hawkesbury area further south. Bernard decided to search the area where the flight path of the Stinson crossed the McPherson Range. He left the Guesthouse and followed the rugged McPherson Range to the west. He pushed his way through dense rainforest dominated by lawyer vine and spent the night huddled with his back to a tree.
Next morning he climbed Mt Throakban and sighted a tree 8 kilometres away that appeared to have been burnt. This interested him greatly and he charged off into the rainforest to look for it. Three hours later a 'coo-ee' startled him and he came upon the crash site to find two men, John Proud and Joe Binstead, still alive after 10 days.
Four men died in the crash but he was told of another man, Jim Westray, who had survived and gone for help. Bernard left the two men at the wreck to seek assistance and as he walked down Christmas Creek he found Westray’s body. He had died as a result of a fall over a waterfall.
Bernard returned with a party including a doctor while local farmers cut 16 kms of tracks through the rainforest of Lamington Plateau to rescue the two survivors. The four men who died in the crash were buried in a common grave beside the wreck while Jim Westray was buried beside Christmas Creek. Bernard O'Reilly relates the story of the Stinson in his book 'Green Mountains'. Copies of 'Green Mountains' can be purchased through O'Reilly's Giftshop, telephone (07) 5544 0522 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- A Stinson Memorial statue commemorating the rescue was erected at O’Reilly’s for the 60th anniversary of the crash. This memorial commemorating Bernard O'Reilly's amazing feat is open to the public free of charge every day.
- O'Reilly's conduct guided walks to the Stinson crash site on a regular basis check out our discovery events page for upcoming dates.