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Nancy Bird Walton AO OBE

In 1934, Nancy Bird Walton became Australia's first female commercial pilot.

Honour Roll

Nancy Bird was born on 16 October, 1915 at Kew, New South Wales and educated at Brighton College, Manly. She took flying lessons with Charles Kingford-Smith, obtaining her 'A' and advanced pilot licenses in 1933 and her 'B' commercial license a year later at age nineteen. She was the youngest licensed woman commercial pilot in the British Commonwealth.

In 1935, she began an air charter service and organised Australia's first 'ladies flying tour'. She also became the first woman to engage in commercial aviation in Australia when she was employed by the Far West Children's Health Scheme in Bourke, New South Wales to operate their air ambulance and baby clinic service.

She won various trophies in women's air races, affectionately known as the 'powder puff derbies'. During World War II she served as Commandant of the Women's Air Training Corps and in 1950 became founding president of the Australian Women Pilots' Association.

She married Charles Walton in December 1939 and they had two children. She wrote two autobiographical books, Born to Fly (1961) and My God, It's a Woman (1990).