There are many Web references to aviation and it's history and they will grow as the fascination of flying and it’s technicalities spreads even further. What seems to be missing, however, is a resource for reading about the contributions made in the past (and still being made) to World Aviation by Australians. These contributions start with Hargrave in 1895 (with his exquisitely made gliders) and continued by the Australian Space Shuttle astronauts.

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Sloane 1911

for Surnames A to B ,See Below

for C to F go to  PIONEER FLIGHT Pt.2
for G to H go to PIONEER FLIGHT Pt.3
for I to L go to   PIONEER FLIGHT Pt.4
for M go to        PIONEER FLIGHT Pt.5
for N to S go to PIONEER FLIGHT Pt.6
for T to Z go to  PIONEER FLIGHT Pt.7






AFFLECK Arthur H. (1903--19 )

Born in Melbourne & educated at Wesley College he went banking first then learned to fly as a commercial pilot, trained at Point Cook. Flew for Aust. Aerial Services, Melbourne to Hay in 1924, then Larkin Aircraft Supply Co.in 1925.Qantas in 1937, flying the Royal Flying Doctor routes. West Australian Airways in 1934. Flying to Broome regularly under very primative conditions in 1936. Papua New Guinea short landings thereafter. Joined the Civil Service as Inspector of aircraft later in 1936 and investigated many air mishaps including the Kyeema affair which accelerated the introduction of air traffic control later on. He was at the foundation of D.C.A.(Airservices) in 1939. In P.N.G. in 1942 he flew an overpowered D.H.50 with a 400hp Wasp engine to make very short landings and takeoffs! Retired as the Regional Director of Civil Aviation for PNG in 1963. (The Wandering Years by A.H. Affleck)

ALLEN George Urquhart( Scotty)

Born in Forgandenny,Scotland,he had a distinguished WW1 service in 71 Sqn RFC and 11, 47, 58 Sqns RAF. Also,in WW2, 23 Sqn.

He came to Australia in 1929 and joined the select band of great aviation pioneers. Accompanied Kingsford Smith , in the "Southern Cross" trimotor Fokker in April 1931 to rescue airmail stranded in Koepang on the first official England- Australia Airmail Flight.. They landed

back in Darwin on 25th. April ( Anzac Day) to the cheers of Diggers still celebrating their big day.

He joined Qantas in 1934 from the original Australian National Airways, where he had been chief pilot, and was (with Lester Brain) the guiding influence in developing and administering the sound flying procedures of the infant Qantas Empire Airways as it introduced on its new overseas routes the four-engined DH86 biplanes and, in 1938, the revolutionary and handsome flying boats. Scottie Allan used his flying boat experience with the Royal Australian Air force in World War II and was, as a member of the RAAF, part of the Qantas crew that ferried the first of the Catalina flying boats from the United States to Australia in 1941 ( on what was only the third ever direct crossing by air of the Pacific). He returned to Qantas after the war, first as London manager and then as controller of technical development before becoming, in 1952, assistant general manager and the airline's chief adviser on new aircraft types, retiring in 1961as deputy chief executive and general manager.. ('From High Corridors,Qantas 1954-1970'by John Gunn)

In 1870 he made balloon flights in Sydney with Tom Gale (see)(Australian Aviators)


Flew as a World War Fighter Pilot in France and planned to fly with Kingsford Smith and Ulm across the Pacific in 1927 , from the USA to Australia . However after many setbacks he had to withdraw for financial reasons and the other two did the flight in 1928 in the ' Southern Cross'. Later on in the search for the same plane , now missing in Australian rough terraine in 1929 with the same two on board, he disappeared , with his mechanic, H.S.(Bobby) Hitchcock , Due to engine failure over the desert they died of a lingering thirst and were found many days later amid national mourning.
Earlier ,in June 1927, he ,with Hitchcock and Vivian, flew in a Bristol Tourer round Australia on the 'Commercial' routes on behalf of the Bond Hosiery and Underwear Group with attendant publicity.{ Reference William Joy in 'The Aviators' }


ANSETT, Myles Reginald. (1909-1981)

Reg was born near Bendigo, Victoria. His father operated a cycle repair shop developed into a motor garage and he fought in W.W.1 in the Australian Imperial Force (mother moved to Camberwell , Melbourne , mean- while), but on returning opened a knitting business and Reg started working there, attending Swinburn Technical College at night. Flying lessons follow ed in 1929. After being an axeman for a survey party in Northern Australia, saving all the time, he entered the road transport business in competition with Victoria Railways, being driver, mechanic and manager. In 1935 he registered Ansett Airways Pty. Ltd., and bought a 6 seat Fokker for passenger work,in the region,hiring his Gipsy Moth for aerobatic flights at 30 shilllings a time. He started a fleet of passenger aircraft (including an Airspeed Envoy) and moved to Essendon, Melbourne, developing flight routes to Adelaide and Sydney. When the ban on non-British aircraft was lifted in 1937 he bought 3 Lockheed Electras with great financial difficulty. Then he had to deal with attempts to sell the airline under him to a rival airline called A.N.A. During W.W.2 his network of maintenance sections and personnel increased under American Military Contracts.By 1945 his airline had 2000 employed and he offered cheap fares operating for the holiday makers with older aircraft. About that time too the Government created T.A.A. to dominate the airlines with their fleet of Convair CV240s and and Vickers Viscounts. A.N.A. continued to be a rival but with less efficiency. In 1954 Ansett introduced CV340s to compete with T.A.A. and in 1957 absorbed A.N.A. In the late 50s the 'Two Airline Policy' came into effect, T.A.A. being government run, and Ansett-A.N.A. So parallel flying on most commercial routes commenced. (Take-off sometimes being separated by 5 minutes only !) Other interests were T.V. Stations, Hotels and Resorts, Coach and Road Freight Transport and Securities. He died in December 1981,still at the helm, handing over to Rupert Murdoch and Sir Peter Abeles (TNT). (Reference "Ansett", Samuel Brimson)

( See also 'Airlines and Operations')


BAIRD Arthur( ? --1954)

An engineer's engineer There was a friendly joke about Arthur that he could stand next to a car engine missing on two cylinders and not notice, but put him near a plane engine with the smallest fault and he would detect, diagnose and fix it in one fell swoop. Arthur made Q.A.N.T.A.S. possible. His contribution was as crucial in his area of repairing, redesigning and building as that of Fysh, McGinness and McMaster in theirs. In 1909, he graduated as a mechanical engineer with the highest marks ever recorded from the Working Mans College, later Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.In World War One, he served with the Australian Flying Corps and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal at Palestine. It was here that he realised his extraordinary affinity with aircraft. Upon joining Q.A.N.T.A.S., he found his mechanical genius was needed immediately. The crushing heat of the Outback tested the wooden frames of aircraft which warped and shrank, and it tested engines which strained and often failed to climb through the thin air. Throttles had to stay on full, which caused even more heating and made radiators boil. Installing larger radiators became a standard activity.
Bairds ingenuity went beyond engines.He turned the Talbot truck into a mobile workshop for going out in the field to repair crashed planes and even replace engines. An accomplished pilot who stepped in to fly for Q.A.N.T.A.S. if necessary, he was a reserved man who always lived alone, he attracted extraordinary respect, loyalty and affection from the widest circles, but especially from the over 400 apprentices he was responsible for training during his epic 28 years with Q.A.N.T.A.S. In 1919, when McGinness and Fysh invited him to join them in the London-to-Sydney Great Air Race, he came without a backward glance. He set standards of integrity which still distinguish Qantas today.

BARLING Jane (nee Gardiner)

One of the first women to fly at Mascot and own her own plane, a D.H.60M Moth in 1931, licence No.750. A flight she took from Bathurst to Sydney is described in 'From Bullocks to Boeings-The History of Sydney Airport'A.G.P.S 1986.


Rugby player Nicky Barr was in England with the Wallabies when prime minister Neville Chamberlain announced Britain was at war with Germany.He immediately returned home, with the rest of the team and a few months later was in the RAF. And so began a remarkable story of courage and adventure played out with No 3 Fighter Squadron in North Africa through which Barr became one of the RAF's most decorated airmen and a fighter ace.
(An Australian Air Ace by Peter Doman,2001)


 Born in New Zealand (who cares so long as they play good rugby ! Ed.) ,the piano was sold to pay for flying lessons at Stag Lane , U.K. ! She flew from England to Australia and back in record time solo in 1934 and broke the solo record across the Atlantic in 1935. In 1936 she went solo from England to New Zealand in 11 days, a record not broken until 1980. In 1937 she again flew solo from England to Australia to regain the record from Harry Broadbent.

BENNETT A.V.M.,CB,CBE,DSO (R.A.F.) Don (1910- 1986)

Born in Toowomba,Queensland , he joined the RAAF then the RAF during the Depression. Later he flew the Mercury componant of the Mayo 'piggyback' twin aircraft arrangement. Then he joined the fledgeling Imperial Airways. During the 1939-45 war he set up the Atlantic Aircraft Ferry Scheme but his main claim to fame was as C.O. of the famous Pathfinders, flying Mosquitos ahead of the bomber raids over Europe with such outstanding success. After the war he designed several light aircraft and cars.

BENNETT, Sgt. J.M. (later Lieutenant)

 Flight mechanic with Sgt. W.H. Shiers for Sir Ross & Keith Smith (from Adelaide) with whom they flew a Vickers Vimy and won the first England - Australia Air Race in 1919 (prize £10,000). He was killed two years later on a test flight in England with Sir Ross Smith.

BLAND, Dr. William (19th Century Sydney surgeon)

Designer of the Atmotic Ship (literally Greek for vapour) in 1851. ( He had been transported as a convict for killing a ship's purser in a duel but quickly pardoned) and became Australia's first private doctor. The ship, or balloon's design, carrying 1.5 tons of passenger/freight in 4.5 days from Sydney to London. It had a steam engine and studded sails but was never built. He died in 1868 after dabbling in politics and founding the Australian Medical Association, also being treasurer of Sydney Free Grammar School at the time.

BONNEY, Lores.

 In a Gipsy Moth, she flew round the coast of Australia in August/September 1932 and had a number of forced landings with minor troubles. Even a collision with the escort plane did not deter her. She aimed at the record from Australia to England in 1933 (following Amy Johnson's reverse flight earlier) . She flew to Singapore and was food poisoned at Raffles Hotel, but took off into a monsoon and had to land on the beach. She swerved into the water avoiding a stray buffalo and overturned. After the wave receded she unbuckled, crawled out and was helped by islanders in salvaging the plane. The repairs in Rangoon took a while but she finally reached Europe but was arrested in both Turkey and Czechoslovakia for 'unapproved' landings. Landing in England she was almost rolled over by a Handley-Page airliner landing in front of her.
She flew through storms and two forced landings to South Africa from Australia in 1937. She was alive in 1991 at 93 and received the Order of Australia.

BOYDEN, Capt Rex
In 1937 a three engined Stinson of Airlines of Australia, flew from Brisbane towards Sydney. Boyden was pilot with 7 passengers. In rugged country the plane vanished and was only found, burnt out - 9 days later a bushman found two survivors after an intense national search.


 In 1929 he discovered 'Kookaburra ' Keith Anderson's crashed plane during the 'Coffee Royal' incident( see Kingsford Smith).
In 1936 he flew the first DH86 ( a four engined passenger biplane) from England for use in Australia by QANTAS(they eventually had four). After making changes to the fin post fittings , directional stability improved and the plane proved reliable. He eventually rose to become chairman of The Australian National Airlines Council ( later TAA , finally part of QANTAS) in 1946 , having previously been Operations Manager.( Australian Aviators)

BREARLEY, Sir Norman
(1890 - )

Born in Geelong, Victoria (son of a farmer) he moved to Perth when young and saw a Spaniard in 1910 go up in a balloon and parachute. In W.W.1 he sailed to England 'as seventh engineer' in the crew and was interviewed for the Army by 'Plum' Warner, the famous cricketer; then into the R.F.C.. He went solo in a Farman Longhorn in under two hours after an argument with his instructor, night flying in seven ! On the Western Front he was badly shot up, only just reaching 'no man's land' between the lines and was forced to hide in a shell hole while the aircraft was shelled. An armour piercing bullet was removed by a surgeon later and he became a 'Gosport' flying instructor in the U.K., after insisting on returning to flying.
After W.W.1 he brought two Avros to Western Australia, firstly barnstorming, then developing airmail routes in the North West of W.A. He was awarded the first commercial flying licence in Australia. He founded Western Australian Airways Ltd. In 1921 hiring some amous pilots of the era flying Bristols. The first regular airmail contract, in Western Australia, was awarded in December, 1921, covering 1200 miles between Geraldton and Derby.
Later W.A. Airways won the Perth-Adelaide airmail contract using D.H.66 Hercules. As this operation entailed night landings, he had a difficult time with the Department of Civil Aviation who insisted on unsuitable runway lighting. He finally used his own choice of lighting and the 2400 km route commenced. Always 'leading from in front' he flew many legs himself. On one of the flights ,in dense fog at Port Wakefield,South Australia ,he narrowly missed a mill chimney during a low turn. In 1936 he sold the airline to the Orient shipping line to become A.N.A. (see AIRLINES) later on. As an engineer who also flew he did a great deal for early airline development as his was considered a model operation.

BRINSMEAD Lt. Col. H. (M.C., O.B.E.)

A pilot in WW1 , he became the first Controller of Civil Aviation after the war. He fiercely defended Government policy of not allowing Airways to compete with the Railways, thus frustrating the hopes of QANTAS at the time. He had a difficult task controlling not only development of aviation ,but also the daredevil flyers of the era. They were a wild ,unruly lot.
('Flying Matilda',Norman Ellison)


 In 1932 he flew solo round Australia in an AVRO sports biplane , to break Kingsford Smith's 1927 record of 11 days. He achieved it in 7 1/2 days due to his remarkable endurance . He continued with records thereafter. ( 'The N-W Aerial Frontier 1919-1934' by E.P.Wixteed)

 Apprenticed with Lancs & Yorks Locomotive Works he joined A.V.Roe in 1912 and designed the wings for the famous AVRO 504 and engine mounts for the AVRO 504K. Director & Co-founder with Capt. Nigel Love and Lt. Warneford of Australian Aircraft Engineering Co., Sydney, they had the AVRO agency for Australia, based at Mascot. 13 AVRO 504s were built there using Australian timber, which was different from the U.K.material. They also built a B-6, a 6 seater airliner with R.R.Eagle engine for D.C.A.. Payment was delayed for long enough to see the Company go under! The engine ,however , became a power supply for a Sydney Bank. He then joined D.C.A. and designed the B-4 and the B-2 (which won the 1924 speed section of the Light Plane Competition) .
He had failed to establish a viable Australian aircraft industry by 1924 , because of political interference from Britain ,so he returned to Europe and became Technical Manager and Director of Saunders-Roe in Britain . In 1938 he was offered the job of Head of the Aircraft Department of The Commonwealth Aircraft Company by L.J.Wackett , but he declined. During WW2 he converted Catalina flying boats for RAF use.
('Flying Matilda' by Norman Ellison.)

Engaged by George Coppin, a Melbourne theatre magnate, to manufacture a balloon called "Australasian" in 1858. First flown by a Mr Dean then by Brown from the banks of the Yarra River, Melbourne. After 16 minutes in the air he was attacked by ear- ache and opened the descent valve to land nearby. He was then beaten up by a crowd of watchers who had expected more. He rose from this misfortunate to ascend to greater heights in December. In January 1862 he ascended during the first Test March between England and Australia.

BROWN Basil ( ... -- 1975)

One of the pioneers of Agricultural Aviation in Australia and N.S.W. in particular . Having flown Liberators out of Darwin in WW2 (Sqd. Ldr. 12 Sqdn.) ,he took up crop spraying after the war, in a Tiger Moth for East West Airlines, which he helped found in 1947. In 1954 he also started Airfarm Associates p/l at Tamworth doing bulk spraying in New England.. The company's logo was a red and yellow flying tractor.
He was several times President of the Australian Aerial Agriculture Operators Association, traveling on their and the Government's behalf. He was recognized as the father of this particular area of flying .( Corresp. Peter Brown)

BRYANT Millicent Maud (1878 - 1927)

The first woman to gain a pilot's license(28/3/27) , here seen with Cpt.E.W.Leggatt, presumably her examiner. She paid about 1 pound per hour for tuition , which was then a weeks wages. Later that year she was drowned in the Greycliff ferry accident. Her funeral, at Manly, Sydney, had a flypast of five aircraft, which was widely reported in the press at the time.
( 'The Girls Were Up There Too', by D.of Air)(also e-mail from Steve Brew, Sydney)


Was a member of all four Australian Air Forces, The Australian Air Corps, Australian Flying Corps, Australian Air Force and the R.A.A.F., honorably discharged from each, but not without upsetting senior officers! He was a superb mechanic and set up so many unique procedures and checks for aircraft and men. He was the first Inspector of Aircraft for D.C.A.in 1922, with just a low enough salery to claim traveling expenses ! He was also mechanic on many epic pioneer flights, such as with Brinsmead around Australia in 1924 flying a converted landplane (DH50) on the 'inner' route. ('The N-W Aerial Frontier 1919-1934' by E.P.Wixteed) BR>

BUCKLEY Noble Sydney Douglas. Capt.(OBE) (1908- 1981)

'Nobby' ,to all who knew him, was a colourful character in South Australian civil aviation. He became President of the Aero Club at Parafield after the war, having learned to fly there in 1935. (Correspondence from his son,John)More detail to come later.

BUSTEED Henry Richard (1888- 1965)

(By popular demand, Ed.) One of the 'Three Harrys' , Busteed ,Hawker and Kauper (three motor mechanics from Melbourne). The first two were found by a couple of Bristol's men ,Smith and Coles, 'hanging around ' during the demonstration tour of Australia. He became a flying instructor and test pilot for Bristol's under Sir George White (1913), assisting in the secret trials of the ' X' hydroplane series and Scouts . Experimental flying for the Royal Navy followed , including deck landings.He later joined the R.A.F. and retired as an A.V.M. in the R.A.F.in 1941.. ( e-mail George White and 'Flypast'. )

BUTLER, Cecil Arthur (1902 - ? ) 

Originally from Lithgow, N.S.W., in 1932 he flew the smallest aircraft to fly from England directly to Australia, beating C.W.A. Scott's record with a flight of 9 days 2 hours 29 minutes in a Comper- Swift. ( A thief stole 15 gallons of his petrol at Akyab,Burma during this flight.). Also during that flight he had only 1 1/2 lb. of luggage, a toothbrush,spare shirt and a flask.
Later he went on to design a high winged all metal plane capable of 185mph called The Bat in 1930 but he couldn't sell it. During his flying career he always had a summons over his head for causing a Tasmanian farmer's horse to die of fright when he flew past.He also founded Butler Air Transport flying out of Hay,N.S.W. to start with . (D.H.84 Dragon, Douglas D.C.3c,D.H.114 Heron,Airspeed Ambassador and Vickers Viscount aircraft ultimately) . This ,on takeover by R.M.Ansett , became Airlines of N.S.W.. ( Note the slippers, which he wore during solo flights, in the picture)
('Flying Matilda' by Norman Ellison)

BUTLER, Capt. Harry J. ( 1889 - 1924) 

Trying to enlist at Pt.Cook for W.W.1 he became frustrated with the delay and went to the U.K. instead. There he enlisted as an Air Mechanic ,ending up as a Captain flying instructor, going to France to learn battle techniques and winning the D.F.C. on the way. After war service he formed a joint company with H. Kauper called The Harry Butler & Kauper Aviation Company in South Australia (1920). He flew an Avro 504 and a Bristol M.1.c.from his Albert Park field which later became Adelaide's first airport before Parafield was developed. He started the first air mail service (to York Peninsular) and aerial photography for the press . In 1920 he flew the then Governor , Sir Henry Galway for 40 minutes and he won the first Australian Aerial Derby in September of that year. He was well known in the State for barnstorming flights and finally crashed badly with a passenger south of Minlaton and never flew again.His plane ,'The Red Devil' , is on display in that town donated by Horrie Miller after restoration
An oral history tape by his wife is in the Mortlock Library,Adelaide.
(The Harry Butler Story by Minlaton District Council,S.A.)