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Beyond the Sky

The Passions and Pioneering Life of Millicent Bryant, Aviator

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In Australia in the mid 1920s, flight was still new, dangerous and glamorous - and aviators were all men. That was until a petite and quietly-spoken 49 year-old mother of three, Millicent Bryant, took her first flight, igniting a passion that led her to become the first woman in the Commonwealth outside Britain to gain a pilot's licence. While newspapers all over Australia began following her progress in the 'race', few outside her family knew the determination and depth of personality that took her into other areas considered unusual for a woman at that time, such as business and politics. And were it not for an ironic stroke of fate, her name may have become as familiar as other pioneers of the air such as Smithy, Hinkler or Nancy Bird Walton. Working from Millicent's own rediscovered letters and writings as well as newspapers and other historical sources, this innovative biographical work reveals a pioneer of the sky and beyond. On one hand it tells, for the first time, of a flyer who was also a businesswoman, small-scale property developer, golfer, student of Japanese at Sydney University and early motorist who had driven over 35,000 miles around New South Wales up to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko - and who could fix her own car to boot. On the other, it seeks to illuminate the inner story of a highly individual, modern woman whose life encompassed not only hidden romance, heartbreak and tragedy but also a spirit of change in the social, political and marital conventions of 20th century Australia.


Mentions Edgar Percival who was a friend of the family.  A good read in two parts - first her flying, then Part 2, going back a couple of generations, the family history.  I was left wondering - had she not drowned in a ferry accident, she would be in our history books and newspapers for a myriad of other reasons.  Such potential cut short.


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