Mount Bryan was the birthplace of Sir Hubert Wilkins, one of Australia’s most daring aviators and explorers.
The homestead is located at Mount Bryan East. In 1993, inspired by Dick Smith and supported by Australian Geographic and its subscribers, a local committee of dedicated volunteers was formed to restore the homestead that had become almost rubble. After successful fundraising events run by this committee, and with assistance from the National Trust and the Regional Council of Goyder, the building restoration began in 1999 and completed two years later. The restored homestead was officially opened by Dick Smith on Sunday 29 April 2001. Sir Hubert Wilkins Memorial Trust members maintain the cottage and continue to make improvements.
A daylight visit is recommended as there is no power at the homestead. The safest and best way to Wilkins childhood home is via Hallett. Visit at your leisure by collecting the key from the Hallett Olde School Gallery, Hallett Store/cafe/craft shop, or the Hallett Hotel.
Born George Hubert Wilkins at Mount Bryan East in South Australia on 31 October 1888, he was the thirteenth of sixteen children of Henry Wilkins, farmer and his wife Louisa. Hubert was to become first an electrical engineer, and subsequently an early photographer. These skills led him into Arctic and Antarctic exploration, and he became the companion of Vilhjalmur Steffanson and Sir Ernest Shackleton on several expeditions between 1913 and Shackleton`s death at the beginning of 1922.
He enlisted in the Australian Flying Corps in 1916 and became Australia`s official war-cinematographer on the Western Front. Subsequently as a pioneer aviator, he was a participant in the first England-Australia air race of 1919, pioneered aviation in the Antarctic, and was knighted in 1928 for the first flight across the North Polar ice-cap.
He was a pioneer anthropologist in the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1923, a pioneer submarine explorer of polar regions in the 1930s and eventually consultant on Arctic survival to the American government and military.