This blog is about my Grandad and through it I hope to learn more about the amazing man he was, in addition to documenting his life, the Stinson airliner disaster and memories of close and extended family. I hope you enjoy the journey with me.

Friday, 18 April 2014


I have managed to get a shipment of books from the Publisher - and will be keeping stocks of them from now on.  Please contact me if you would like to purchase any of the books below, I am happy to ship and most can be posted as a large letter - so about $3 maximum to post.


I will include a FREE copy of Folly with the first 10 orders!

Green Mountains and Cullenbenbong (Hard Cover)  $39.00

Green Mountains recounts the story of Grandad's heroic search for and discovery of the survivors of the Stinson wreck. In the second part of the book, he tells of the family's move to Queensland from the Blue Mountains of New South Wales and their work in establishing the Guest House at Green Mountains.

Cullenbenbong covers the childhoos of Bernard. Boyhood adventures, family joys and sadnesses are all told in his own inimitable style, together with the mountain legends heard around the fireside of the Blue Mountains' pioneers.

Folly (softcover)   $4.00

Folly is a delightful and humorous story of a young foal's introduction to its world of a farm in the Australian Bush.

Not previously published, the story was originally written by Grandad from the battlefields of North Africa to his young daughter (Mum)  at home in Australia.

Green Mountains (Soft Cover)      $16

Green Mountains recounts the story of Grandad's heroic search for and discovery of the survivors of the Stinson wreck. In the second part of the book, he tells of the family's move to Queensland from the Blue Mountains of New South Wales and their work in establishing the Guest House at Green Mountains.

 Over the Hills (Paper back)  $16.00

Over the hills is a collection of memoirs of the later life of Bernard; his own personal battle and his unsuccessful attempt to establish "The Lost World" combine with anecdotes about family and nature that make us see the beauty and character of our environment.

Crash (paperback A4) by Jennifer Beck, Dyan Blacklock and Katrina Allan    $20.00

Crash is an 'honour book' on the list from The Children's Book Council of Australia and is a more pictorial and succinct version of the search for the Stinson. This is the first time I have seen it and I am quite impressed, I am looking forward to seeing it.

I hope you all have a happy and safe Easter.

Bye for Now

Kylie xo

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Striking while the iron is hot....

While I am on a roll, I thought I would get another post done...this time I want to share with you some links I have found that are really interesting.

This photo courtesy of The Courier Mail

First up, this is the link to Queensland State Archives, listed here for reading is all the material from the inquest - witness statements, death certificates, flight paths and a lot more. Interestingly I only came across this recently (again thanks to Geocaching) and mentioned it to Mum...who has also never read the statements.

Click here to go to Queensland State Archives now.

This page is the local Scenic Rim page about Grandad and the Stinson:

Click here to go to Scenic Rim now.

There have been a couple of documentaries and movies made about the Stinson, the best one I think was made by John Schindle and is called 'Miracle of the Mountains'.

Click here to purchase your copy now.

If you are considering a trip up the mountain - you may like to stay at the place I describe as 'closest to heaven' - it belongs to the family known as 'Farm O'Reilly's' who were cousins to Bernard.

Click here to discover Luke O'Reilly's Farm now.

Shortly I hope to have copies of Grandad's books for sale - so please let me know if you are interested and I can add you to my list. Here is a link to a review on Goodreads.

I have discovered  that I do not have one single photo of Grandad and me - I will be searching to rectify that over the next couple of weeks.

Bye for Now

Kylie xo

Friday, 4 April 2014

History is Important...

Good Morning All....

Thanks for dropping by, I hope you enjoy this blog over the coming months and years. 

I felt this was a great time to start this blog, something I have thought about for some time. In a couple of weeks there is a party of Geocachers walking to the Stinson, I am nowhere near fit enough to go but will be spending the weekend as part of the support crew and cooking them dinner. I will get to Westray's grave this trip though, and maybe another time will make it all the way up to the crash site. As I get older I have come to realise what an integral part of my family history this is, and it is my responsibility to keep the history alive.

Here are answers to some things you may be wondering.....

Why this BLOG? 
I have no doubt Grandad was an amazing man and it saddens me that I did not get to know him better. He passed away when I was only 5 and I only have two memories of him. One of him walking past patting me on the head, and the other of his mustard coloured jumper, which I am sure Grammie knitted for him.

The two days of the year I feel closest to him, and often struggle with, are the day the Stinson crashed (19 February 1937) and Anzac Day. Grandad fought in the war, predominantly Borneo but also in Papua New Guinea. Maybe that is where I got my love of PNG from? One day I hope to travel there again...and find the exact spot where he was.

So through this blog, I hope to learn more about Grandad, document all the little details and things I didn't know and get to know the person he was. I also hope to share his story with all of you, and the amazing feat of finding the Stinson in what is very rugged virgin rainforest.

I am also in the process of scanning and filing Grammie's slides and those my mother is passing onto me of the family history. I am sure there will be some beauties in there and this is a forum to share them with all of you.

What will this BLOG be?
Over time I will share historical details, slides and photos, Grandads books and poetry and memories from my Mum and cousins - particularly those of Mum's era. Contributions from anyone and everyone are welcome - so please message me or leave a comment if you would like to contribute. I am also archiving all the physical items, so if you have any and would like to add to this collection please contact me.

I am going to aim for one post a week - however sometimes life gets in the way so it may be more sporadic than that.

There are lots of sites with awesome recounts and details of the Stinson. I will probably link to a lot of them rather than repeat. My goal is to add to what is available with more personal family memories.

Some Common Terminology
Throughout this blog, you will hear me refer to things in names I have used all my life...perhaps some explanation is useful so you can follow along?
Grandad - Alfonso Bernard O'Reilly (1903 - 1975)
Grammie - Viola Gwendoline O'Reilly (?? - 1977)
Mum - Rhelma Kenny (nee O'Reilly) (16 October 1932)
Goblin Wood - the home of Grammie and Grandad at Green Mountains
Green Mountains - The area around and encompassing O'Reilly's in 
Lamington National Park.

I will finish this initial post with some photos that are important to me.....before I do, please subscribe and follow along on what will be an amazing journey for me personally, and I hope you will travel along with me?

Hydrangeas will always be my favourites..these I took these in January when up the mountain, they are Grammie and Grandads in the yard of 'Goblin Wood'. I struggle with going there, I still have nightmares about selling the house - to me it feels like we lost a big part of our family history with it. 

This is one of my favourite pictures of Grandad - taken at the end of the Stinson. Not sure if it was as he was waiting to take the rescue party back up or after the men were out. I will check. The jumper belonged to his sister Rose....and I bet that is the one of the best cups of tea he ever drank!

Grammie and Grandad...

And finally - my poem, written specially for me by Grandad. Hope you can read it as the pic is not the greatest! A pertinent time to post it with my birthday only recently. The line across the bottom says 'To my lovely second grandchild, in honour of her first birthday'.

Bye for Now

Kylie xo