Norman Brearley

Norman Brearley
Norman Brearley

Norman Brearley in the 1920s
Born 1890
Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Died 9 June 1989
Nationality Australian
Occupation Pilot
Title Sir
Bust of Brearley at Perth Airport by sculptor Gerard Darwin

Sir Norman Brearley CBE was a commercial and military pilot and one of the pioneers of the airline industry within Australia.


Early life

Born in Geelong, Victoria in 1890, Brearley moved to Western Australia in 1906.[1]

Aviation career

In April, 1915, after undertaking a 5-year apprenticeship as a mechanic, he worked his way to the United Kingdom and subsequently enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps.[2] Whilst flying in France during World War I he was badly wounded in October, 1916, and returned to Western Australia to recover.[2]

In 1921, Brearley founded West Australian Airways Ltd.[1] In the same year, Brearley was issued with the first civil pilot's licence under the 1921 Air Navigation Regulations.[1] Despite his holding licence No. 2, licence No. 1 was not issued until the 1930s in honour of Amy Johnson's record flight from London to Australia.[1]

In 1927, Brearley opened the Perth Flying School at Maylands. He retired from commercial aviation in 1936 when he merged his airline with Australian National Airways.[2]

Later life

He later served with the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II.[1]

Brearley was knighted in 1971.[1]

Brearley died on 9 June, 1989.[1]


Further reading

  • Brearley, Norman, Sir, and Mayman, Ted (1971) Australian aviator Adelaide, Rigby. ISBN 0851792278
  • Mayman, Ted (1979). "Sir Norman Brearley, the aviator", in Hunt, Lyall (ed): Westralian Portraits. Nedlands: University of Western Australia Press, 193–198. ISBN 0-85564-157-6.

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