On Thursday 23rd March 2017 we will recognise the achievements of Australia’s first female pilot Millicent Bryant.
Millicent was born in Wellington, New South Wales and she was one of ten children to her parents Edmund George Harvey and Georgiana Sarah Bartlett Harvey.
She was married on the 9th May 1900, to Edward James Bryant. They had three sons (born 1901, 1903, and 1908). She was sadly widowed in 1926.
At the age of 49 years old, and only 9 months after the death of her husband Edward, Millicent passed her private pilot’s license test at the Australian Aero Club of New South Wales on the 23rd March, 1927 flying a De Havilland DH60 Moth aircraft, the licence was formally issued on the 28th March 1927.
Sadly Millicent’s flying was short lived and ten months later she was tragically killed in a ferry accident on Sydney Harbour. The Tahiti-Greycliffe Ferry disaster was one of the most deadliest incidents in the harbour’s history.
Five planes flew over her funeral and dropped a flower wreath in tribute. Her leather flying helmet was held in the National Library of Australia for many years; however in 2005 it was moved to the PowerHouse Museum in Sydney.
In 2001, Millicent Bryant was inducted into the National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame.
In 2007, to mark the 80th anniversary of her pilot’s license, an official plaque was attached to her tombstone by the Australian Women Pilots’ Association.