Trans-Australia Airlines Museum

TAA's People - JP Ryland

JP Ryland GM




John Ryland, the son of a Swan Hill farmer , was educated at Xavier College (Melb) from which he matriculated in 1929 and then moved on to a Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree.

John's first taste of flying was in 1925 when as a fourteen year old he invested $1.00 in a 20 minute joy ride around Port Phillip Bay in an amphibian named Cutty Sark.

When war came in 1939 John Ryland joined the RAAF as a Flying Officer and quickly rose through the ranks to Group Captain.

He was Commander of the 13th Squadron at Ambon and also served in Borneo, New Britain, and Darwin.

He was awarded the DFC and a United States Presidential Unit Citation for persistence and courage in the face of Japanese attacks on Darwin in 1942.

In 1943 John was part of a five-man overseas mission lead by Sir Daniel McVey to the United States and Great Britain to obtain more aircraft and equipment for the RAAF.

The New TAA

On 18 December 1945, Group Captain John P. Ryland (DFC) was demobilized from the R.A.A.F, where he had distinguished himself during the war years, and like Lester Brain, he had a wealth of experience with aircraft and people, and the training of flying staff.

Initially he had been employed with Ansett Airways as Manager of the Airline Division, but when TAA was formed, he applied for the position of Operations Manager.

John Ryland became TAA Operations Manager in June 1946, being selected by Lester Brain to establish the basic aircraft utilisation pattern for the first fleet of aircraft, establish pilot rating, and to run a special training school at the R.A.A.F. Station, Point Cook, Victoria, for the intensive training in commercial flying for air crew within the newly established Trans-Australia Airlines.

This would be known as the National Pilot Training School, conducted at Point Cook in Victoria, and all pilots joining TAA were required to successfully complete both the aircraft training and conversion courses for civil flying, and be aware of all the new and revised regulations being introduced for commercial airlines.

He was appointed Assistant General Manager (Ops) in 1947, and was appointed Assistant General Manager in February 1949, and General Manager in March 1955.

His career with TAA is marked with many significant milestones such as the development of the Flight Operations Division, the decision to buy Australia's first pressurized aircraft, the Convair 240, in 1947; the introduction of Viscounts in 1954; TAA'S entry into Papua New Guinea in 1960; the start of the jet age for TAA with the Boeing 727-100 (1964) and Douglas DC9-30; computerisation of reservation and airline records and the approval for diversification of TAA .

In June 1960 John Ryland was awarded the Order of Commander of the British Empire in the Queen's birthday honours list, and the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy in 1969, after a long and distinguished career, he undoubtedly contributed to TAA's public image and the high standards maintained by TAA's pilots and cabin crews.