History on the Australian Women Pilots’ Association

On 16 September 1950 a group of thirty five women became charter members of the Australian Women Pilots’ Association at a meeting at Bankstown Airport in Sydney.

These women pilots of all ages and experience became the core of a nationwide network which today, like then, aims to assist women to achieve their goals in aviation. AWPA is an entirely voluntary organisation.


Founder Nancy-Bird Walton

Nancy-Bird Walton, AO, OBE, DStJ (16 October 1915 – 13 January 2009) was a pioneering Australian aviator, and was the founder and patron of the Australian Women Pilots’ Association. In the 1930s, defying the traditional role of females of her time, she became a fully qualified pilot at the age of 19, and became the youngest Australian woman to gain a pilot’s licence.

Amongst her many achievements, she was awarded the Order of Australia in 1966, The Order othe f British Empire and The Venerable Order of Saint John. Nancy-Bird Walton was inducted into the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame on 25th November 2017 for being the youngest woman to obtain a commercial licence in the British Empire in 1934 and founder of the Australian Women Pilots’ Association.

AWPA Activities

For a country as immense as ours, the Australian Women Pilots’ Association is organised on a statewide basis, with a National Committee to promote women’s involvement in aviation from aero clubs to airlines. State and regional groups organise meetings, fly-ins, seminars and social events. These give you a chance to meet members with similar interests, experience other forms of aviation and enjoy visits from other flyers.

Association members meet annually for a four-day conference and Annual General Meeting held in either March, April or May. Annual conferences are held in a different state each year. The conference includes educational sessions, networking, a flying competition and the presentation of awards and scholarships.