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hearn_al_03_a_350 The Hearns Hobbies Story: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia The Hearns by John Marquette "Hearns Hobbies went on...to become one of the best-known and highly respected hobby houses in the country. The many kits they designed...were built and flown in every state of the Commonwealth."
During the Great War of 1914-18 a young fellow named John 'Jack/Johnny' Hearn joined the Royal Flying Corps. This was the commencement of a dynasty that has been devoted to aviation - particularly models - for better than 70 years. Jack Senior had three sons - Jack, born in England in 1920; Keith and Bruce, about two years later and two years apart, both born in Australia. The earliest record of an interest in modelling is shown in a photo of Jack taken in 1923, holding a wire framed silk covered model aeroplane. Sadly Keith passed away in 1981, but brothers Jack and Bruce, Jack's son Norman, Keith's son Bruce and Bruce's son Geoffrey are all still actively and enthusiastically involved in aeromodelling. Another prestigious distinction the family has is they are all pilots - from the grandfather to the grandsons. The three middle generation boys, Jack, Keith and Bruce, all served with distinction in the Second World War as officer pilots. Jack was a flying instructor in the same unit where his two brothers trained. He later was to become Commanding Officer of a fighter squadron at Bougainville in the Pacific islands. Keith did his tour of duty in bombers and Bruce was a P51 Mustang fighter pilot. He also did a tour of duty in Japan at the end of hostilities. After the War the brothers decided, as well as their hobby, to make aeromodelling their career and accordingly opened Heams Hobbies. Both Jack and Keith were somewhat experienced as they had both been employed in the hobby trade in the 1930s. Hearns Hobbies went on, in spite of many frustrations from shortages of merchandise during the early years and a lot of very hard work and dedication, to become one of the best-known and highly respected hobby houses in the country. The many kits they designed, manufactured and marketed covering all disciplines of modelling were built and flown in every state of the Commonwealth. During the control line boom years of the 1950s and '60s, Hearns rather than a shop was more like a club, where everyone who was anyone would pop in to meet their friend and have a chat. The distinction of their first contest success went to Jack in the late 1930s. He won the first Wakefield trophy in Victoria. Later he won the first Radio Control contest ever held at a Nationals at Adelaide in 1950. Keith also was no slouch when it came to making and breaking records. I am sure he was the greatest modelling pioneer we have seen in this country and possibly are ever likely to see. Among his achievements was the World Height Record for Radio Control Aircraft, certificated by the F.A.I. He was the first and as far as I know the only person to fly a Dynajet powered radio control aircraft. His "Across the Bay" flights and his epic re-enactment of Kingsford Smith's flight, from Point Cook to Berwick were but a few of his many marvellous achievements. These three fellows had far too much knowledge and experience for it not to be put to good use. This was done by the R.A.A.F. who placed them on the reserve list of Officers to teach aeromodelling to the A.T.C. Cadets. A great deal of fine work was done here in moulding the youth and guiding them into worth-while careers in aviation. Many of our current airline pilots owe their start in aviation to the Hearn brothers. Hearns Hobbies is still an active and busy model business in Melbourne, but the brothers have eased themselves out into a more leisurely lifestyle. As Jack recently commented to me, "in spite of all the problems it is very satisfying to have seen the growth, advancement and sophistication of the aviation model world develop to the standard it is today."
Gallery
hearn_john_snr_1_250.jpgHearn family, England, c.1900
John 'Jack/Johnny' Hearn (father of Jack, Bruce and Keith) is front right.  
hearn_3gens_airflow_1_250.jpg'Three Generations at GCV', 1952
   
hearn_bruce_sok_350.jpgAdrian Hearn (grandson of Keith), c.1985
   
hearn_3gens_airflow_2_250.jpg'Three Generations at GCV', 1985
   
hearn_j_b_geoffknights_350.jpgJack and Bruce Hearn with (r) Prof. Geoff Knights Monash Uni., Open Day, 1999
 
hearn_airship_01_350.jpgJack and Bruce Hearn with (l) Doug Anderson Monash Uni., Open Day, 1999
 
WW1
hearn_john_1_250.jpgJohn 'Jack/Johnny' Hearn, c.1917
   
hearn_john_2_250.jpgJohn 'Jack/Johnny' Hearn, c.1917
   
hearn_john_3_250.jpgJohn 'Jack/Johnny' Hearn, c.1917
 
hearn_john_4_250.jpgJohn 'Jack/Johnny' Hearn, c.1917
   
hearn_john_4_d_250.jpgJohn 'Jack/Johnny' Hearn, c.1917 (detail)
 
hearn_john_prop_2_250.jpgJohn 'Jack/Johnny' Hearn, c.1917
   
hearn_john_5_d_250.jpgJohn 'Jack/Johnny' Hearn, c.WW1 before?, after?
   
Between the Wars
 
hearn_al_02_a_350.jpgGliding, c.1935
   
hearn_al_06_a_colr_350.jpgHearn Glider, c.1935 (hand tinted)
   
hearn_al_06_a_mono_350.jpgHearn Glider, c.1935 (converted to grayscale)
   
hearn_al_10_a_350.jpgJack Hearn
 
hearn_al_37_a_350.jpgpretty aviatrix - can anyone name her?
   
hearn_k_rot_engine_1_350.jpgKeith Hearn (pre WW2?)
   
WW2
hearn_bros_350.jpgThe Hearn Brothers, Keith, Bruce and Jack, c.1943
   
hearn_mum_oct43_350.jpgBruce, Jack and Keith Hearn with their mother Oct., 1943
   
Jack Hearn
hearn_awm_OG3262_350.jpgJack Hearn, Aug., 16, 1945
Australian War Memorial photo : Harrison, John T. TOROKINA, BOUGAINVILLE ISLAND, SOLOMON ISLANDS. 1945-08-16.MEMBERS OF NO. 5 (TACTICAL RECONNAISSANCE) SQUADRON RAAF WHO DROPPED LEAFLETS GIVING INSTRUCTIONS TO JAPANESE FORCES TELLING THEM HOW AND WHERE TO SURRENDER. LEFT TO RIGHT: 405608 FLYING OFFICER (FO) L. A. STEVENS, LAKEMBA, NSW; 402348 FLIGHT LIEUTENANT (FLT LT) H. H. GRIFFITHS, MOSMAN, NSW; 25350 FO J. HATFIELD, MACKAY, QLD; 408975 FLT LT G. B. DAVIS, W. GEELONG, VIC; 410978 FO J. HEARN, SURREY HILLS, VIC; 426560 FO C. R. DOWNES, PALMWOODS, QLD; 411311 FLT LT J. GOULD, SYDNEY UNIVERSITY, NSW AND TE KUITI, NEW ZEALAND; 413283 FO K. C. THOMPSON, MUNGINDI, NSW; 424150 FO TERRY COLLIS, WAVERLEY, NSW. FLT LT GOULD WAS A STUDENT AT SYDNEY UNIVERSITY WHEN WAR BROKE OUT AND HE JOINED THE RAAF. THE BOOMERANG AIRCRAFT BEHIND THEM IS SERIAL NO. 232.
hearn_j_155300_250.JPGJack Hearn, Aug., 17, 1945
Australian War Memorial Negative Number : OG3267, Photographer: Harrison, John T TOROKINA, BOUGAINVILLE ISLAND, SOLOMON ISLANDS. 1945-08-17.MEMBERS OF NO. 5 (TACTICAL RECONNAISSANCE) SQUADRON RAAF (TACTICAL RECONNAISSANCE) SQUADRON RAAF RETURNING FROM DROPPING LIEUTENANT GENERAL S. G. SAVIGE'S SURRENDER ORDERS TO JAPANESE FORCES ON BOUGAINVILLE. LEFT, 410978 FLYING OFFICER J. D. HEARN, SURREY HILLS, VIC, AND 426560 FLYING OFFICER C. R. DOWNES, PALMWOODS, QLD. THE BOOMERANG AIRCRAFT BEHIND THEM IS SERIAL NO. 232.
Bruce Hearn
hearn_b_first_atc_350.jpgBruce Hearn, First ATC
   
hearn_awm_P01687.009_350.jpgBruce Hearn, Jul.,1945
Australian War Memorial photo : unknown but most likely by Harrison, John T. MOROTAI, HALMAHERA ISLANDS, NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES, 1945-07.GROUP OF REINFORCEMENT PILOTS FOR THE RAAF SQUADRONS FLYING CURTISS P40 KITTYHAWK AIRCRAFT. LEFT TO RIGHT: BACK ROW: IAN BEAUREPAIRE; HANKINSON; HARRISON; INGLEDEW; BARBER. FRONT ROW: PAYNE; MITCHELL; MARSDEN; HEARN. THE PILOTS WERE ATTACHED TEMPORARILY TO NO. 14 REPAIR AND SALVAGE UNIT (RSU), PRIOR TO THEIR POSTING TO VARIOUS KITTYHAWK SQUADRONS. THE GROUP PROBABLY CAME FROM NO. 3 RESERVE PERSONNEL POOL (RPP). (DONOR: I. BEAUREPAIRE)
hearn_b_132561_350.jpgBruce Hearn, Sep., 24, 1945
Australian War Memorial Negative Number : OG3621, Photographer: Harrison, John T LABUAN, NORTH BORNEO. 1945-09-24.416333 FLIGHT LIEUTENANT BRIAN HARRIS DFC OF KOOYONG, VIC, MUSTANG INSTRUCTOR, GIVES A FEW POINTS ON FLYING TO 431603 FLIGHT SERGEANT (FLT SGT) JOHN ADENEY OF MT EVELYN, VIC, AND (TOP LEFT) 438392 FLT SGT BRUCE HEARN OF SURREY HILLS, VIC. THEY WILL FLY TO JAPAN WITH THE RAAF OCCUPATION FORCE.
hearn_b_commission_250.jpgBruce Hearn, Commissioning
   
hearn_b_cockpit_2_350.jpgBruce Hearn, P51 Mustang? Kittyhawk?
 
hearn_b_mustang_1_350.jpgBruce Hearn, P51 Mustang
   
hearn_b_mustang_2_250.jpgBruce Hearn, P51 Mustang
   
hearn_b_mustang_3_350.jpgBruce Hearn, P51 Mustang
   
hearn_b_mustang_4_250.jpgBruce Hearn, P51 Mustang
   
hearn_b_wtooth_mustang_250.jpgBruce Hearn, P51 Mustang
   
hearn_b_model_1_250.jpgBruce Hearn model glider, Japan, 1945/46
   
hearn_b_rowandelecombe_350.jpgBruce Hearn with Sir Rowan Delecombe
   
Keith Hearn
hearn_k_001_350.jpgKeith Hearn, AVRO Cadet
 
hearn_k_raaf_badge_350.jpgKeith Hearn's RAAF Cap Badge
   
Post WW2 Hearn's Hobbies
hearn_j_b_k_uniform_1_350.jpgThe Hearn Brothers, Jack, Bruce and Keith, c.1946
   
hearn_b_j_k_350.jpgThe Hearn Brothers, Bruce, Jack and Keith, Banana Alley, c.1946
   
garnham_trophy_1947_350.jpgGarnham Trophy, 1947
Second from left is John 'Jack/Johnny' Hearn    
hearn_banana_alley_1_250.jpgHearn's Hobbies, Banana Alley c.1950
   
hearn_cat_58-59_cov_ds_250.jpgHearn's Hobbies Catalogue, 1958-59
 
hearn_cat_60-61_cov_250.jpgHearn's Hobbies Catalogue, 1960-61
   
hearn_cat_60-61_p02_250.jpgHearn's Hobbies Catalogue, 1960-61
   
Model of the 'Southern Cross' 'crosses' Port Phillip Bay
hearn_k_b_sc_color_350.jpgKeith and Bruce Hearn and Keith's model of the 'Southern Cross'
   
hearn_k_sc_helis_350.jpgPress helicopters follow the model Southern Cross
Photo taken from the Cessna control plane  
hearn_k_sc_1_350.jpgKeith Hearn being congratulated on a successful landing
   
more
hearn_k_sale_late60s_250.jpgKeith Hearn, RAAF Sale, Victoria, late 1960s
 
hearn_k_lamont_j_1961_350.jpgKeith Hearn and John Lamont, 1961
  More about the Hearn Brothers can be found in the Museum of Australian Aeromodelling