28. Group Capt. Sir Norman Brearley (1891-1989), aviator
Norman Brearley was born in Geelong, Victoria and arrived in WA with his parents in 1906. He served in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I. Brearley survived when his aircraft was shot down over France. His war service was recognised by the awards of DSO, MC and AFC.
He returned to Perth after the War with two war surplus Avro bi-planes, with which he commenced his civil aviation career. Brearley gave public demonstrations of flying, together with stunt exhibitions using the WA Cricket Association ground and Langley Park as an aerodrome. He further enthralled the public by offering joyrides above Perth and country towns.
Brearley received the first commercial pilot licence issued from the Federal Government in 1921. That year he won the tender for an airmail and passenger service between Geraldton and Derby. This marked the founding of WA Airways, a fledgling airline initially equipped with a fleet of six converted Bristol fighters.
Charles Kingsford-Smith was one of the early pilots who worked with Brearley. Kingsford-Smith later achieved fame for his record-breaking flights.
In 1924 Brearley extended his service to Perth and to Adelaide in 1929. He subsequently sold the company to Australian National Airways in 1936. During World War II Norman Brearley served as a commanding officer in the No.4 Flying School in Geraldton.