Sir IVAN NELLO HOLYMAN (1896-1957)
was a businessman and co-founder of Holyman's Airways, born on 9 July 1896 at Devonport, Tasmania, the eleventh of thirteen children, was educated at Launceston Grammar School. His elder brother Victor Clive (1894-1934) was a ship's officer in the family shipping company, William Holyman & Sons Pty Ltd, based in Launceston and a business founded by their grandfather.
In 1932 the family bought a three-passenger de Havilland 83 Fox Moth aircraft, and Victor, who had trained as a pilot in Britain attaining the rank of flight sub lieutenant, Royal Naval Air Service, commenced flights from Launceston to Flinders Island. He later serviced Launceston and Melbourne, using a DH84 Dragon, (DH86 Rapides and later DC2s).
The airline throughout these early years was supported by their shipping interests, and in the depressed market of the early 1930s, meant they were able to buy many small airlines cheaply at deflated prices.
Holyman Bros Pty Ltd, was established, and an aircraft was purchased (named Miss Currie). The amalgamation with Tasman Aerial Services Pty Ltd (a competitor Mr. L. Johnson) was formed with the intention to fly passengers from Launceston to Melbourne. This fledgling airline was granted a Commonwealth government contract, commencing a mail service to the mainland of Australia in October 1934.
Johnson was later bought out by Holyman's Airways Pty Ltd, now a registered company (showing Huddart Parker Ltd and Union Steamship Co. Ltd, as partners).
In 1937 Holyman's formed Australian National Airways Ltd (which had originally been registered by Charles Kingsford-Smith), and the New South Wales regional carrier, New England Airways was further merged into a new group called Airlines of Australia.
Holyman in turn absorbed Airlines of Australia in 1942 into ANA, to become the dominant airline in Australian civil aviation, and Australia had its first major interstate airline.
ANA was the carrier on the main domestic routes linking Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Tasmania during the 1930s and into the war years and it had a strong financial foundation.
In 1936 Hazel Holyman, (wife of Victor) began training hostesses for ANA, and Marguerite Grueber and Blanche Due graduated as Australia's first air hostesses.
On 19th of October 1934, VH-URN Miss Hobart, a DH84, was lost in Bass Strait with no survivors, and wreckage from the aircraft was seen from the air during a search three days later, but the search parties failed to locate it.
Victor Holyman was the wireless operator/second pilot on this flight, and a director of Holyman Airways.
On October 2nd 1935 VH-URT Loina, was also lost in Bass Strait with no survivors, but wreckage was recovered from the sea and from beaches around Flinders Island.
The wreckage revealed a section of charred carpet on a piece of cabin flooring from just ahead of the lavatory door, indicating a fire on board possibly from a cigarette, causing someone to try to stamp it out, resulting in a change in the centre of gravity of the aircraft affecting directional control, when the aircraft was performing a landing manoeuver.
Holyman, always looking for struggling airlines to absorb into his empire, moved in on Ansett and attempted to buy the airline, but failed, due to Ansett's resistance.
Ansett countered by purchasing additional aircraft and expanding his operation.
It is ironical that Ansett Airways Ltd would be the airline to take over the failing ANA .