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Australian Aviation Hall of Fame (AAHOF) seeking public help to locate families of 2016 inductees Lester Brain and Edgar Percival

written by australianaviation.com.au | August 30, 2016

A 1980s image of a Fokker F28 in MacRobertson Miller Airlines at Perth Airport. (John Wheatley/Wikimedia Commons)
A 1980s image of a Fokker F28 in MacRobertson Miller Airlines at Perth Airport. (John Wheatley/Wikimedia Commons)

The Australian Aviation Hall of Fame (AAHOF) is keen to locate descendants of two of its inductees for 2016.

Six new members of the AAHOF will be admitted at the official ceremony at the Temora Aviation Museum in Wagga Wagga on November 12.

The class of 2016 includes Australian Aviation contributor and aviation safety author Macarthur “Mac” Job, whose books included the world-renowned Air Crash and Air Disaster book series (published between 1991 and 2001).

Macarthur Job in 2007.
Macarthur Job in 2007.

Job began his writing career in the mid-1960s as editor of the then Department of Civil Aviation’s Aviation Safety Digest publication (which in 1972 was awarded the Flight Safety Foundation’s prestigious “Publication of the Year” award), while from the late 1970s he was editor of Australian aviation industry magazine Aircraft (now Aviation Business).

Lester Brain. (State Library of Queensland)
Lester Brain. (State Library of Queensland)

Later, Job also wrote for a number of aviation titles and was a contributor to Aero Australia magazine. He was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2003 for “services to the promotion of aviation safety”. Job died in August 2014. He was 88.


The other inductees in the 2016 intake included Lester Brain, who established Trans Australia Airlines in 1946 and was its first general manager. Prior to TAA, Brain was a distinguished pilot and senior administrator with Qantas for many years.

Horatio “Horrie” Miller, the co-founder of MacRobertson-Miller Airlines, which started flying between Broken Hill and Adelaide in 1927 before it moved to Western Australia and eventually became part of Ansett, is also an inductee.

Test pilot, engineer and designer of the Percival Gull aircraft, Edgar Percival, and Sir Robert Norman, a RAAF pilot who established Bush Pilots Airways in Queensland, rounds out the five individual members to receive their awards.

A 2008 image of Percival Gull VH-CCM. (Robert Frola/Wikimedia Commons)
A 2008 image of Percival Gull VH-CCM. (Robert Frola/Wikimedia Commons)

The AAHOF has also recognised the contribution to Australia’s aviation heritage of Bush Pilots Airways, which began with one aircraft operating out of Cairns in 1951 before expanding to serve 44 destinations in 1988, with the “Southern Cross Award”. The airline eventually became part of Australian Airlines, which later became part of Qantas. Sir Norman died in 2007. He was 93.

“These five outstanding individuals and “Bushies” join thirty two other individuals and five organizations in the Hall of Fame. All have made quite incredible contributions in their respective fields for the major benefit of Australia, particularly regional and remote Australia,” AAHOF chairman Padgett said in a statement.

A 2014 image of a Swearingen SA-226 TC Metro III in Bush Pilots Airways livery on display at the Queensland Air Museum in Caloundra. (Alec Wilson/Wikimedia Commons)
A 2014 image of a Swearingen SA-226 TC Metro III in Bush Pilots Airways livery on display at the Queensland Air Museum in Caloundra. (Alec Wilson/Wikimedia Commons)

Padgett says the AAHOF has been unable to locate relatives and descendants of Brain and Percival.

The AAHOF said Brain was born in Forbes, NSW in 1903 and lived in both Melbourne and Sydney. He was married to Constance Brownhill and the couple had two sons and two daughters.

Meanwhile, Percival was born in Albury, NSW in 1897. Born to parents William Percival and Blanche Hilda Leontina Wikner, he lived in Sydney until after World War I when he moved to London until he died in 1984. He never married.

Anyone who can help get in touch with Brain or Percival’s family is asked to contact the AAHOF via its website or via email to [email protected].

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Comments (7)

  • Alan William Percival


    My name is Alan William Percival,and I am a direct decendant of Thomas Percival who came to Yass/Tumut in the 1830’s round- about, Tom Percival initially settled in the Yass area where a couple of his children were born, he then moved to Brungle Creek then finally resided in Tumut where he managed a pub.and also had farming interests……..he had a large family.

    I suspect Edgar was related to Thomas Percival, as some of Tom’s decendants moved from Tumut and resided in various parts of the Riverina & Hume area. . Albury being part of this region. where Edgar was born.

  • Jane happell


    Hi my name is Jane Happell my mother linnea was Edgar’s sister. Sorry Tom but we are not related to your Percival’s. Edgar s father was my grand father William. His father was Arthur who came out to nsw from Ireland. Edgar had four nieces and one nephew. His nephew died without issue. There are only 2 nieces still alive and obviously no siblings. My mother was the last and died 10 years ago. Please get in touch if I can help you with any information.

  • Kay Hartman


    So glad to see my Grandfather, Lester Brain, receive this recognition.
    My mother and aunt still survive as do six other grandchildren and nine (?) great grand children.
    Thank you.
    Kay Hartman

  • Mike Brain


    Hello, I’m Lester Brains grandson
    You can contact me on 0400228407.

  • Dave Brain


    My name is David Lester Brain named after my grandfather. Please feel free to contact me on 0403301197.
    Kind tegards,

  • Anthony


    Hi I am Lester Brains grandson, his son Robert Austin Brain is my father, my name is Anthony Austin Brain, Michael & David in comments above are my two older brothers. I would be interested in talking to someone from AAHOF regarding my Grandfather and some possible items that may be of interest to someone who is interested in him.

    Please contact me on +61 411 955 565 or alternatively [email protected]

    Thank you!

  • Many thanks to all who have posted.

    I will call those who left contact numbers.

    Jane Happell – pls contact me direct at [email protected] with your phone no and I will call you.

    Kay Hartman – I will respond to your email direct.

    AAHOF appreciates your responses very much – it has saved us much difficulty in tracking down relatives.

    Geoff Breust Vice Chairman, AAHOF

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