The legendary local story of the Stinson rescue has lived on in the many memories shared at an 85th anniversary event at Stinson Park.
On 19 November, 85 years to the day since the Stinson Airliner VH UHH crashed in the wilds of Lamington National Park, history aficionados and descendants of the rescuers gathered to remember at the event, organised by Beaudesert Historical Society.
Bernard O’Reilly’s daughter Rhelma Kenny, who will be 90 in October, captivated the audience with her story of what it was like as a small child to see her dad go off to lead the rescue.
Dinah Buchanan, who was a child when her future husband Roy Buchanan and his brother played a significant part in the rescue, was also at the event with her sons Paul and Ray Buchanan and her daughter Diane Ardrey.
Ray Buchanan spoke about his father’s involvement in the Stinson rescue, and the family had historic items and documents on display.
Other descendants of rescuers at the event included Percy Arthy, Rob Cawley, Bruce Stephens, Mary Rohan, Dave Tommerup, Jeanette Johnsson, Kathy Nelson, Megan Kenny, Graham Stephens and Leshaan Bright.
John Schindler, who made the documentary “Miracle of the Mountains”, reminisced about his time with survivor John Proud and shared his insights into the Stinson story.
Beaudesert Historical Society President Mark Plunkett reflected on the phenomenal rescue of survivors Joe Binstead and John Proud through extremely tough terrain and held a minute’s silence for the pilot, co-pilot and passengers who did not survive.
“Both Joe Binstead and John Proud recovered and lived long lives thanks to the amazing rescue efforts of Bernard O’Reilly and the local community people,” he said.
“Many men left their farms for the rescue effort, relying on their wives to take up the tasks of milking the cows, tending the farm, as well continuing to raise the children, and performing their normal day to day duties. The rescue effort couldn’t have been done without them, and each and every one of them, contributed to a positive outcome for the two survivors.”