Australian Women's Register

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Australian Women Pilots' Association (1950 - )

From
16 September 1950
Bankstown, New South Wales, Australia
Occupations
Membership organisation
Website
http://www.awpa.org.au

Summary

The inaugural meeting of the Australian Women Pilots' Association (AWPA), was held at the Royal Aero Club of New South Wales at Bankstown on 16 September 1950. Thirty-five women became charter members. Nancy Bird Walton, the catalyst for the formation of the Assocation was elected founding president, with Maie Casey wife of the Governor-General at the time, R. G. Casey, its patron. The aims of the Association include encouraging women to gain flying licenses of all types, maintaining pilot networks in state and local areas where women in aviation can meet and exchange information, promoting training, employment and careers in aviation and assisting in the future of aviation through public interest, safety and education. Full membership is open to any female pilot who holds or has held a pilot's licence.

Details

The precursor to the formation of the Australian Women Pilots' Association was the meeting of women pilots which Nancy Bird Walton had called in 1949 to discuss their work during World War II. As a result of this discussion the women pilots developed an interest in each other, which in turn led to the formation of the Association the following year. Maie Casey's patronage assisted the Association in its attempts to gain widespread recognition and respect. In the view of Nancy Bird Walton the AWPA initiated the return of many old hands into flying as they wanted to regain their licences after many years on the ground.

The AWPA operates with a national executive and state branches. Association members meet annually for a four day conference and annual general meeting, which is held in a different state each year.
Nancy Bird Walton became patron after Maie Casey's death in 1981.

Sources used to compile this entry: Walton, Nancy Bird, My God! its a woman : the autobiography of Nancy Bird, Angus & Robertson, North Ryde, N.S.W., 1990, 216 pp.

Archival resources

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • Australian Women Pilots' Association records, [ca.1934]-1970, 1934? - 1970, MS 1985; Australian Women Pilots' Association (1950 - ); National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Kentley, Margaret, Sometimes the pilot wears a skirt 1920-1970 [manuscript], 1920 - 1970, MS 6938; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Papers of Walton, Nancy Bird, 1915-, 1933? - 1972, MS 3862; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Papers of Blackburn, Helen, Lady, 1918-, 1944 - 1990, MS 9146; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

Rosemary Francis

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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ISSN 2207-3124