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PM Scott Morrison announces Sydney’s second airport to be named after Nancy-Bird Walton

Michael McLaren

According to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, pioneering pilot Nancy-Bird Walton is “an absolutely inspiring choice” as the name for western Sydney’s new airport.

Michael is joined by Gabbie Kennard, who was the first Australian woman to circumnavigate the globe by airplane in 1989, to get some insight into Ms Walton… an inspirational Australian that she knew well.

Known as the “Angel of the Outback”, aviatrix Nancy Bird Walton took her first flying lesson from Charles Kingsford Smith, pioneered outback ambulance services and founded the Australian Women’s Pilots Association.

Born into the Bird family of Kew (NSW) on 16 October 1915, Nancy seemed

destined for the skies. At 13, she went for a flight in a de Havilland Gipsy Moth at a

local fair and was hooked. She took flying lessons from Kingsford Smith, gaining her

class A flying licence when 17 years old.

Walton held her pilots licence until three years before her death, aged 93, in Sydney

in 2009. The terminal at Bourke Airport is also named after her, and an annual

sponsorship for young female adventurers was set up in her name by the Australian

Geographic Society.

Nancy Bird Walton’s achievements are remarkable in an era when women were

discouraged from wearing pants, let alone flying planes. Her autobiography,

published in 1990, is not surprisingly called ‘My God, It’s A Woman!’.

Download this podcast here

Michael McLaren