Trans-Australia Airlines Museum

ANAC Commissioners

TAA's Charman image

ANAC Board of Commissioners


Arthur Coles (later Sir) was appointed Chairman of the Australian National Airlines Commission on the 8th of February (1946), and convinced the government that should he accept the position, it was necessary that no interference with the establishment or the running of the airline would be forthcoming from the government.

He was essentially TAA's, and the ANAC's, first employee.

This principle established, shortly after he was joined by the other commissioners, who had been selected for their business accruement and wealth of experience gained from industry, or during their war service. It was a formidable team.

Coles was one of the richest men in Australia and was not a Labor Party believer or a public servant. He was a cofounder of the Coles retail empire, but he had decided to retire from active management of his business to use his talents for the public good.


W.C. Taylor was appointed Vice Chairman at the meeting held on the 10th of April. He was a member of the Commonwealth Bank Board from 1941 until 1945, but had trained as a solicitor with a good legal background.

Other Commissioners

Daniel McVey, had served as secretary of the Department of Aircraft Production from 1942 to 1945, and was the Director General of Postal Service, who was representing the Post Master General. With a senior position in the Australian Post and Telegraph Department, he had a wealth of experience in the postal and telegraph network and appreciated the distances and the problems experienced with establishing new operating methods.

Captain E. C. Johnson. (Ex Qantas) Deputy Director of Civil Aviation was appointed to the Board, and had been on the Civil Aviation Board, and responsible for the development and implementation of Air Navigation Regulations. Now as Controller General he was responsible for all operations including ground control and had been closely associated with Civil Aviation in Australia since the First World War.

A.C. Joyce, Assistant Secretary to the Treasury was appointed a member of the board to oversee all of the finance activities and represented the Treasury.

The above people formed the initial Board of Commissioners, and held their first official meeting on the 10th of April 1946.

Trading Name - Trans-Australia Airlines

The Commission informed the government in early April 1946, two months after it came into existance, that they preferred trading name, "Trans-Australia Airlines" , and the Treasury granted a preliminary advance of £10,000, whereby permitting plans for recruiting staff, and purchasing equipment.

An interesting piece of history was that in March 1946, Reginald Ansett, the proprietor of the small Victorian company Ansett Airways, wrote to Coles with a proposal to get the new airline flying by selling his entire operation to the ANAC as a going concern.

He also offered his services as managing agent. The asking price of £102,476, the Commission decided, was optimistic, and Ansett declined a counter offer by the commission.

These letters are on show in the museum.



Original Commissioners

The Original Members of the ANAC, 1946 L to R,

Mr A. C. Joyce, Mr W.C. Taylor (Vice Chairman), Mr A W Coles (chairman), Mr D McVey, Capt. E C Johnson.