Pioneers Through The Years

Hannah Dowling tells the story of 10 of Australia’s most prominent and game-changing women across the aviation and defence sector

The aviation industry has undoubtedly seen a wide range of dramatic changes over the last 100 years, not least when it comes to the place of women in the industry. This is largely thanks to the strong and resilient female pioneers who used their passion for aviation to overcome and overthrow the societal limitations placed on them. Today, Australian Aviation shares the story of just 10 of these determined and history-making women who have changed the sphere for generations.

Millicent Bryant with instructor Capt. Legget (Source – Bryant Scrapbook courtesy of John H R Bryant

Millicent Bryant 

In March of 1927, at 49 years old, Millicent Bryant was a widow and a mother of three children – and she also became the very first Australian woman to secure a private pilot’s licence. She is also believed to have been the first female in Australia to undergo formal flight training. She was born in 1878 near Wellington in western NSW. Her family, the Harveys, soon moved to Sydney when her younger brother fell ill. Bryant was taught how to fly by WWI fighter pilot Captain Edward Leggat at the Australian Aero Club in Mascot, where the current Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport International Terminal now stands.

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