Tribute: Nancy-Bird Walton
Australian Geographic expresses sadness at the passing of legendary pioneer aviator and adventurer, Nancy-Bird Walton, and pays tribute to her incredible legacy.
Nancy-Bird passed away aged 93 at her Sydney home on 13 January 2009.
For more than 10 years Nancy-Bird was a Trustee of the Australian Geographic Society, a position she filled with the utmost dedication and enthusiasm. In 2007, Nancy-Bird was instated as the first Emeritus Trustee of the Australian Geographic Society, in recognition of her years of service.
Sorrel Wilby, chair of the Australian Geographic Society says: “Nancy-Bird Walton was a woman way ahead of her time and an inspiration to so many generations of adventurers, especially women.”
Charles Kingsford-Smith gave Nancy-Bird her initial flying lessons and in 1935 she was the first Australian woman to work as a commercial pilot and carry passengers in the Commonwealth.
She became a Dame of the Knights of Malta in 1977 and in 1990 was awarded an AO by the Australian Government. In 1996, Nancy-Bird’s lifetime of dedication to aviation was acknowledged with an OBE and she was named a Living National Treasure by the National Trust of Australia in 1997.
Nancy-Bird will be greatly missed by Australian Geographic and all who knew her.