UP AND AWAY: Les Hill’s photograph of Rod Fuller flying the John Dickenson designed hang glider for the first time, towed by a boat driven by Pat Crowe. INSET: Len Hill with the photo. PHOTO: JOJO NEWBY
UP AND AWAY: Les Hill’s photograph of Rod Fuller flying the John Dickenson designed hang glider for the first time, towed by a boat driven by Pat Crowe. INSET: Len Hill with the photo. PHOTO: JOJO NEWBY

Photo that confirmed hang gliding invention

FIFTY years ago Les Hill snapped a photo which would provide proof that Grafton was the birthplace of modern hang gliding.

Until 2007 Mr Hill was oblivious to just how important that single slide photograph would be for the history of Grafton and hang gliding.

"I heard they were going to try to fly the hang glider, so I went along with my camera and took this photo," he said.

"I took the photo and for years it just sat in a box with all my other slides."

"I never thought anything of it... it was just another thing to take a photo of."

It was the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Grafton Bridge, and Mr Hill got chatting to the inventor of the hang glider, John Dickenson.

They got onto the topic of that day in 1963 when Rod Fuller flew for the first time in a hang glider invented by Mr Dickenson, behind a boat driven by Pat Crowe.

"I told John about the photograph I'd taken of the hang glider being flown and he got all excited."

The photograph was snapped from the bottom of Duke St, at the old water ski club site, and until 2007 it was thought nobody had photographic proof of the flight.

"There wasn't many people there," Mr Hill recalled.

"I never realised that I had the proof.... All those years they had no proof of the flight, and I didn't know that.

"I am very glad that I can prove that they did it, for their sake."

Mr Hill said his camera at the time was nothing fancy, but it sure did serve its purpose.

"It was just an old slide camera... it buggered up a long time ago."



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