Name Sydney's Second Airport after pioneering aviator William Hart
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William Ewart Hart’s story is of an unique Australian risk-taker. He was born in Parramatta, 20th April, 1885. He had his airfield at Thornton Hall, Penrith. He flew the length and breadth of the Lower Blue Mountains way back in 1911 in his Bristol Boxkite biplane. In fact Billy was flying before illustrious pilots like Nancy-Bird Walton (16 Oct., 1915 – 13 Jan., 2009) were even born!
Aviator Billy Hart is still not widely known, except for local knowledge in Parramatta and Penrith. He is a great Australian who should be recognized for his many firsts. He promoted aviation before WWI and saw it as vital as a means to shrink Australia’s vast distances.
To briefly highlight his story –
Billy began his working life as an apprentice dentist. He had his own offices in Parramatta and Sydney, then changed jobs by becoming a Ford car dealer in Sydney.
- His hobbies included all things mechanical, even competition motorcycle riding.
- A Bristol Boxkite Biplane became available. It was brought to Australia by J.J. Hammond. Billy bought it for £1300, even though he didn’t know how to fly.
- His fame grew as he became holder of Australia’s No.1 Flying Licence.
This was presented to him on the 5th December, 1911. He gained his licence after performing controlled flight manoeuvres set out by the Aerial League of Australia. Later he obtained No.199 British Flying Licence. He gave Bert Hinkler and Edgar W Percival their first plane ride.
- He won Australia’s first air race, Ascot to Parramatta. He had Australia’s first air crash at Rooty Hill, NSW. Billy began the first flying school in 1912 at Ham Common, NSW. Today, that landing field is known as Richmond RAAF base. Also, Billy served in the Australian Flying Corps during WWI as flying instructor.
- Aviator Billy Hart starred in three silent movies.
- He is seen as a visionary as he had thoughts on the future of aviation and its possible impact on defence well before WWI. Please view two short Youtube videos about him here:
Aviator Billy Hart aloft in Newsreel
William Ewart Hart - An Aviator's Life
These are reasons why we have began a campaign to rename Sydney’s Second Airport to Hart International Sydney, as this will surely cement ties to out past and honour Penrith and surrounding districts forever.
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