Sydney's New Airport To Be Named After Female Aviation Pioneer Nancy-Bird Walton
Sydney's second airport will be named after one of the country's greatest aviation pioneers -- and "My God! It's A Woman!"
That was the response of one grazier, trapped on an outback property decades ago, when he was told the pilot flying to his rescue was Nancy-Bird Walton.
It also became the title of her biography published in 1990. Now the new airport at Badgerys Creek, scheduled to open in 2026, will be named in her honour.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the unveiling was a "sky high moment".
"Australia's story is a tremendous one and it's the story of so many amazing women in our country," he said.
“[She] is an Australian legend, a pioneer whose determination to take to the sky is an inspiration for generations who have followed."
So who is Nancy-Bird Walton?
Born in 1915 on the NSW mid north coast, Bird Walton began learning to fly when she was 17.
She was one of the first taught by another iconic Australian aviator, Charles Kingford Smith, enrolling in his flying school at Mascot.
Bird Walton wasn't the first woman in Australia to obtain a pilot's licence -- that was Millicent Bryant in 1927.
But she was the first to have a commercial licence -- meaning she could carry passengers -- and she held onto it for most of her life.
Bird Walton helped to set up a remote air ambulance service based in Bourke, before she began flying for the Royal Far West Children's Health Scheme.
She went on to train female pilots during World War 11, establishing the Australian Women's Pilots' Association in 1950, where she remained president until 1990.
She died at her home in Mosman in 2009, aged 93.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian commended the prime minister on his "inspired" name choice for the $5.3 billion project.
"Nancy was a trailblazer not just for women, but for anyone who thought about the future and who had a vision for helping others," she said.
Featured image: AAP