Trans-Australia Airlines Museum

TAA's Early Managers

In the Beginning

One of the ANAC's first tasks was to recruit a General Manager and so Ivan Holyman, the Chairman of ANA, received correspondence with a view to recruiting him as General Manager of TAA at the salary of £10,000 pa, but he declined, as he was not inclined to sell, nor to work for a government-owned body.

Attracting private enterprise applicants proved to be difficult and the ANAC revised the operating management and proceeded with the original plan, to build an airline from scratch, seeking experienced people from many industries.

Administration of TAA's Functional Operations

TAA, being a new organization and no pre-determined operating procedures, provided the incentive for people to establish a strong foundation, and hence attracted many professionals from within the aviation industry, and from other airlines, where promotion had been limited.

They had to establish a national airline network, get proven and newer aircraft, get ground handling equipment, and acquire facilities in various states.

General Manager

L Brain image

Lester Brain - who had applied for the Flight Operations Manager position as he had been employed by QANTAS, rising from the ranks of the pilots and with a wealth of operational experience, Arthur Coles offered him the position of General Manager.

Assistant General Manager

JP Ryland image

John P. Ryland > a highly decorated war time pilot. John Ryland initially joined A.N.A. after being discharged in late 1944, but decided to pursue the new airline with the ability to use his special talents. His administrative abilities combined with his flying experience inspired TAA to appoint him as Manager - National Pilots Training Scheme, located at Point Cook, and hence all pilot training was undertaken here and under his guidance. He would replace Lester Brain on his retirement.

Finance Manager

RE Pope image

R. E .(Dick) Pope DSC - appointed Chief Accountant. Again an ex-serviceman, Dick Pope continued to pursue his profession with TAA after the war.

Company Secretary

SH Crawford

S.H. (Stan) Crawford had been Asst. Secretary to the Army and now appointed ANAC Company Secretary. His years of experience in the defence services ensured excellent administrative practices were employed.

Engineering Manager

JL Watkins image

John L. Watkins - recognized in the industry as Australia's foremost aviation engineer, he had been employed by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation during the war years and had a wealth of experience in aircraft construction, production and operation. He would use this experience throughout his career with TAA and is credited with recommending the acceptance of the Convair 240, the Vickers Viscount, the Caravelle (order cancelled by direction of the 2 airline policy - see Ansett), the Fokker F27 (original specifications amended, varied and approved on his recommendation) to suit the Australian conditions.

Engineering Operations Manager

JJ Davies image

J. J. (Jack) Davies – appointed Engineering Operations Manager. Ex Ansett Airways Ltd. he had a wealth of engineering experience but his best attribute was his ability to pass his professional knowledge on to newly employed apprentices and engineering staff. TAA was acutely aware of the need for aviation specialists with the number of new aircraft that were being developed in the USA and Europe and the need for skilled and trained employees

Tom Savige and Herb Maley would both be recruited by John Watkins who was aware of their technical expertise with technical drafting and aircraft equipment engineering. Both men had been members of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation and highly skilled like Watkins.

Bart Woodgate and Alan Mc Keown also came from C.A.C. and recruited by Herb Maley. These two would become the backbone and stability of the technical and engineering sections. The expertise developed by the many engineers who were employed or graduated from apprenticeships can be attributed to these men, and this standard would be maintained beyond their retirement.

TAA's Traffic Manager Ground Handling

David Laurie

David Douglas Laurie - 'Doug' had been within QANTAS (Middle) Management as Manager Darwin after serving his apprenticeship within the ranks, and reluctantly he transferred to Brisbane. Doug answered the challenge and became TAA's Traffic Manager, responsible for establishing and training employees in all ground handling and passenger procedures.

Hostess and In-Flight Services

hostess Inflight training

On the 12th August 1946, Miss Helen Sumerville was appointed Air Hostess Superintendent and was answerable to the Flight Operations Division of the airline. She had the unenviable task of selecting suitable staff from the hundreds of applications which poured in from all parts of the Commonwealth.

Helen Somerville had been employed by A.N.A. as a senior hostess, and applied for an administrative position with TAA, but was selected to use her experience in the control and training of all applications for the operational positions.

Her original 1946 uniform is on display in the museum.

Aviation Medicine

Dr F Parle image

Dr. Frank Parle - The foremost authority in Australia in an evolving field of aviation medicine (pre war aircraft rarely flew higher than 10,000 feet - after the war aircraft flew above 25,000 feet - and the human body experienced major pressure and temperature changes).

Public Relations and Publicity - Ian Sabey had seen military service in Europe and spent three years in a prison camp before returning to Australia. He took up the position of Publicity Manager and much of the early success of TAA's advertising is attributable to him, and he is also credited with 'finding' TAA's most publicized image of the airline – Nola Rose – whose face appeared on TAA's publicity and ticketing material for more than 30 years.

These were the people who established Australia's newest and most progressive air transport network and based on the inherent camaraderie formed during the war years, TAA rapidly became the dominant force on the Australian mainland.

A solid administrative foundation had to be supported by a similar branch management, and this too contained people who had a wealth of experience and the desire to 'answer the challenge'.