A Feminist a Day: Nancy Bird Walton

Who is she?

nancy bird waltonNancy Bird Walton was an aviator who broke new ground for women in the field – at 19, she became the youngest Australian woman to gain a pilot’s licence and the first to be able to carry passengers.

Nancy was determined to be a pilot from a young age, and while women did learn how to fly, she wanted to do it for a living.

After a gift from her family enabled her to buy her first plane, Nancy toured the country giving barnstorming demonstrations, before being hired as a pilot for the Royal Far West Children’s Health Scheme.

During WW2 Nancy helped train women in aviation skills and later founded the Australian Women Pilots’ Association to support her fellow women flyers.

Why should we thank her?

Nancy was an inspiration for female pilots and a trailblazer for those wanting to break into a (still) very male dominated field.

Best quote

“As a four-year-old, my mother told me I was climbing the fence, jumping off and calling myself an ‘eppyplane’ … I bought books on aeroplanes, I followed everything in the newspapers about aeroplanes. Amy Johnson flew to Australia in 1930 – why couldn’t I do something like that?”

*One of the first interviews I ever did as a young journalist was with Nancy-Bird Walton. She was as formidable in person as she sounds on paper.

A Feminist a Day: Nancy Bird Walton

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