Eleven aviation pioneers were inducted into the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame (AAHOF) at a gala dinner on September 15.
The dinner, held at Charles Sturt University, was a glittering black tie affair that marked the inaugural induction, and was attended by aviation identities and descendants of the first members of the hall.
AAHOF's inaugural inductees were:
Of all the inductees, only Max Hazelton and wife Laurel were able to accept their award in person.
The RFDS was also presented with the Southern Cross Award for contribution to aviation by an organisation, but most innovative was the induction and special award for the indigenous people of Australia for their pioneering use of aerofoils in the development of the boomerang.
AAHOF President Geoff Breust hailed the night as a singular success.
"We had 170 people, mostly visitors from all over the county; descendants of Brearley, Hinkler, Duigan all came a long way. It was a great response from everyone that attended. During the photographic presentation there wasn't one other conversation going on anywhere in the room, which shows how much importance people placed on the inductions."
Highlights of the night were the photographic presentation with a professional voice-over outlining the achievements of each inductee, and a recorded Skype interview with the son of Charles Kingsford Smith, conducted by local radio host Anne Delaney.
AAHOF's founding partner Shell had a large presence at the induction ceremony, as did Jeppesen, who sent Thomas Wede from the USA especially to induct Bert Hinkler.
Twenty nominations were made, of which the 11 were chosen, and already Breust is encouraging nominations for the next inductees.
"One thing you have to understand is that this is not a 'league table'," he stressed. "For the first year we wanted about ten or so, and went for one from each state. We're looking for maybe only five or six next year because we don't want to get them all in too quickly."
For the time being, the AAHOF is largely only a website, but the target is to have a physical building, something Breust knows is still a couple of years away.
"A bricks-and-mortar hall of fame is a few more years down the track, but we should be able to do something. We're looking for it to be a depository that's accessible to everyone as an education tool; a resource centre so people can do research as well.
For now, the AAHOF is a website, which you can use to join as a friend, make donations or get your nominations in for the next round of inductions.