Australian Biography: Nancy Bird Walton


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1993, 27 Minutes. Classification: G.

A fully qualified pilot by the age of 19, Nancy Bird Walton went from being the youngest commercial licensed woman pilot in the British Commonwealth to becoming Australia’s ‘First Lady of aviation’ in the 1970s.

In the early 1930s, aviation was opening up Australia and Nancy Bird began taking flying lessons from Charles Kingsford Smith's Flying School at Mascot. In 1934 she became the youngest commercially licensed female pilot in the British Commonwealth. The following year she logged the fastest time between Melbourne and Adelaide.

Nancy Bird Walton became known as the 'Angel of the Outback' for her work with the Far West Children's Health Scheme. She flew many hours in her Leopard Moth carrying patients to hospital, operating the first aerial baby clinic and aerial charter services. During World War Two, Nancy became Commandant, Women's Air Training Corps, and in 1950 founded the Australian Women Pilots' Association.

Nancy received the OBE in 1966. In 1977 she became a Dame of St John (Knights of Malta) and in 1990 she received the Order of Australia. She published two books: Born to Fly and My God, It's a Woman.

A Film Australia National Interest Program. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

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NB The Australian Biography series (1-11) are only available for sale within the territories of Australia and New Zealand.


Producer/Director/Writer: Frank Heimans

Year: 1993

Running Time: 27 mins

Classification: G

Curriculum links: Australian History, History of Aviation, HSIE, Studies of Society and Environment, Women's Studies.


Air Australia

SKU 199101307
Brand Film Australia

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