Guide to the Papers of Freda Thompson

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MS 7936

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

Creator
Freda Thompson
Title
Papers of Freda Thompson
Date Range
1918-1985
Collection Number
MS 7936
Extent
0.56 metres (4 boxes, 2 folio boxes)
Language of Materials
English
Repository
National Library of Australia

Introduction

Scope and content note

The papers contain diaries, log books, correspondence, newspaper cuttings, citations, certificates, invitations, air schedules, aircraft manuals, pilot's certificates and licences, passports, aircraft account cards, flight maps, radio scripts and other papers, medals, a slide rule, Thompson's cap and goggles and a photograph of Thompson beside her aircraft.

Conditions Governing Access

Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn1025622).

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], MS 7936, National Library of Australia, Papers of Freda Thompson, [box number and series and/or file number]'.

Provenance

These papers were donated to the Library in 1990 by Freda Thompson's sister Mrs Claire Embling.

Bibliography

Goggles and God help you : pioneer airwoman Freda Thompson OBE and some of her contemporaries, by Joan Palmer, was published in 1986.

Biographical note

DateEvent
1906Born 5th April, elder daughter of Frederick and Martha Thompson, Melbourne.
1911-23Educated Toorak College, Melbourne. Gained Leaving Honours, Proficiency Certificates Pianoforte and Ice Skating. Very early member of Girl Guide movement at school, and later an official for many years. Proficient at golf, tennis, riding and swimming. Over the years, a member of the Royal Victorian Aero Club (Honorary Life Member), 99's America Women's Pilots Association, Royal South Yarra Tennis Club, Kingston Heath and Metropolitan golf clubs, Royal Victorian Automobile Association, Quamby and Alexandra clubs. All her life, travelled extensively in Australia and overseas.
1926To Europe by ship. Made first flight with British Airways from Paris to London.
193028th May, first flight as pilot. Obtained A licence.
1931Studied night and instrument flying and navigation.
1932Won Adelaide Aerial Derby for Victoria. Over the years won 47 trophies and was three times winner of R.V.A.C. championship in open competition. Obtained commercial licence.
1933Obtained instructor's licence. First woman in British Empire to do so.
1934Flew own Moth Major solo from England to Australia. First Australian woman to do this. Trip took 39 days, actual flying time 19 days, 20 days spent at Athens waiting for spare part for damaged wing. Record five and a half hour flight made from Koepang to Darwin over the Timor Sea, still unbroken for a biplane.
1937Awarded George VI Coronation Medal.
1940Appointed Commandant of Victorian branch of Women's Air Training Corps, forerunner of Women's Australian Air Force.
1942Joined Australian Women's Army Service as ambulance driver
1945Ferried ex-R.A.A.F wartime planes interstate to Geelong. As her Moth Major had been taken over for wartime training, bought a De Havilland Hornet Moth from fellow pilot, Nancy Lyle, and flew around Australia.
1947First woman elected to R.V.A.C. committee.
1948First woman elected as R.V.A.C. President.
1952Flew Hornet to New Guinea. Did three trips with Sepik Airways as co-pilot, in a Norseman.
1953Awarded Elizabeth II Coronation Medal.
1972Awarded O.B.E.
1973Presented perpetual trophy, together with individual replicas, for Freda Thompson Aerial Derby, a race around Port Phillip Bay for women, flown annually. After her death and in her memory, Graham Mortimer of WA presented another trophy in the form of a replica of her Moth Major for a similar race, open to both men and women. These races were flown for the last time on 20th. February, 1988.
19804th May, made last flight as co-pilot in Tiger Moth, having held a pilot's licence for 50 years and flown 3330 hours. Licence endorsed to fly D.H. 60, D.H. 82, D.H. 87B, Ryan Stinson, Miles Messenger, Fairchild, Percival Proctor V, Cessna 182, P.A. 22, Miles Whitney Straight, Moth Minor, Beechcraft, P.A. 23. Died 11th December from cancer, after a short period in hospital.
DateEvent
1906Born 5th April, elder daughter of Frederick and Martha Thompson, Melbourne.
1911-23Educated Toorak College, Melbourne. Gained Leaving Honours, Proficiency Certificates Pianoforte and Ice Skating. Very early member of Girl Guide movement at school, and later an official for many years. Proficient at golf, tennis, riding and swimming. Over the years, a member of the Royal Victorian Aero Club (Honorary Life Member), 99's America Women's Pilots Association, Royal South Yarra Tennis Club, Kingston Heath and Metropolitan golf clubs, Royal Victorian Automobile Association, Quamby and Alexandra clubs. All her life, travelled extensively in Australia and overseas.
1926To Europe by ship. Made first flight with British Airways from Paris to London.
193028th May, first flight as pilot. Obtained A licence.
1931Studied night and instrument flying and navigation.
1932Won Adelaide Aerial Derby for Victoria. Over the years won 47 trophies and was three times winner of R.V.A.C. championship in open competition. Obtained commercial licence.
1933Obtained instructor's licence. First woman in British Empire to do so.
1934Flew own Moth Major solo from England to Australia. First Australian woman to do this. Trip took 39 days, actual flying time 19 days, 20 days spent at Athens waiting for spare part for damaged wing. Record five and a half hour flight made from Koepang to Darwin over the Timor Sea, still unbroken for a biplane.
1937Awarded George VI Coronation Medal.
1940Appointed Commandant of Victorian branch of Women's Air Training Corps, forerunner of Women's Australian Air Force.
1942Joined Australian Women's Army Service as ambulance driver
1945Ferried ex-R.A.A.F wartime planes interstate to Geelong. As her Moth Major had been taken over for wartime training, bought a De Havilland Hornet Moth from fellow pilot, Nancy Lyle, and flew around Australia.
1947First woman elected to R.V.A.C. committee.
1948First woman elected as R.V.A.C. President.
1952Flew Hornet to New Guinea. Did three trips with Sepik Airways as co-pilot, in a Norseman.
1953Awarded Elizabeth II Coronation Medal.
1972Awarded O.B.E.
1973Presented perpetual trophy, together with individual replicas, for Freda Thompson Aerial Derby, a race around Port Phillip Bay for women, flown annually. After her death and in her memory, Graham Mortimer of WA presented another trophy in the form of a replica of her Moth Major for a similar race, open to both men and women. These races were flown for the last time on 20th. February, 1988.
19804th May, made last flight as co-pilot in Tiger Moth, having held a pilot's licence for 50 years and flown 3330 hours. Licence endorsed to fly D.H. 60, D.H. 82, D.H. 87B, Ryan Stinson, Miles Messenger, Fairchild, Percival Proctor V, Cessna 182, P.A. 22, Miles Whitney Straight, Moth Minor, Beechcraft, P.A. 23. Died 11th December from cancer, after a short period in hospital.

Item Descriptions

Series 1. Diaries, 1926-67

Detailed diaries describing travel by Thompson, including two of her own flights.

Trip to Europe by ship and time spent in England, 2 Jan - 10 Aug 1926 (File 1) - Box 1

New Zealand (written on loose pages), 18 March - 26 Apr 1937 (File 2) - Box 1

Round Australia flight, May - June 1950 (File 3) - Box 1

New Guinea flight, 21 Apr - 1 Aug 1952. Annotated map inserted (File 4-5) - Box 1

Tour of North and South America, 19 Feb - 19 Oct 1963 (File 6) - Box 1

"Expo 67" England - Australia tour, 1 June - 2 Dec 1967 (File 7) - Box 1

Diary covers visit to U.S.A., Canada, India, Asia.

Travel in South Africa, India, Penang, Singapore 22 Apr -15 Sept. No year given (File 8) - Box 1

Series 2. Log books, 1930-80

Four pilot's log books, including past experience summary, and record of flights.

1930-40 (File 1) - Box 1

1940-65 (File 2) - Box 1

1966-80 (File 3) - Box 1

Journey log-book, England - Australia flight, 1934 (File 4) - Box 1

Series 3. Correspondence, 1935-72

U.K. Foreign Office receipts for telegrams sent, 1934, 1935 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 1

Letter from Reginald Ansett, concerning 1964 Air Race, with photo of Ansett and Thompson, 10 Apr 1964 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 1

Congratulatory letters, telegrams and cuttings received on award of O.B.E., from E. Connellan, Rohan Delacombe and others, 1972 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 1

Series 4. Newspaper cuttings, 1933-86

Scrapbook, c. 1933-34 (File 1) - Box 2

Newspaper cuttings, c. 1936-86 (File 2) - Box 2

Series 5. Citations, certificates, invitations, 1918-72

Folder including certificates from Toorak College, 1918, the National Ice Skating Association, 1937, the award of the Coronation Medal, 1937 and 1953, the Women's Driving Tour, 1939, the Ansett Air Race, 1964 (File 1) - Box 2

Pianoforte Grade III, 1921 (rolled).; Winner, Aerial Derby Handicap, Parafield SA, 1932; OBE citation, 1972 (File 2) - Folio-Box 1

Series 6. Flight charts

Published aeronautical charts of locations in Australia.

Cootamundra- Melbourne, 1925 (File 1) - Box 2

Melbourne-Adelaide, 1926 (File 2) - Box 2

Melbourne-Hay, 1930 (File 3)

Sydney-Brisbane, 1934 (File 4)

Thursday Island-Bowen, n.d. (File 5)

Melbourne, 1961 (File 6)

Hamilton, 1963 (two copies) (File 7-8)

Adelaide, 1964 (File 9)

Canberra, 1965 (File 10)

Melbourne, 1966 (File 11)

Hamilton, 1974 (File 12)

Victoria, n.d. (File 13)

Series 7. Air schedules, 1934-37

Booklets produced by the Shell Aviation Department, giving information on aerodromes, including sketches, classification, situation, description, facilities, remarks, magnetic course and distance.

Calcutta - Rangoon - Bangkok - Singapore - Batavia - Darwin, Aug 1934 (File 1) - Box 3

Darwin - Charleville - Melbourne, Aug 1934 (File 2) - Box 3

Cairo - Damascus - Aleppo - Baghdad - Jask - Karachi - Calcutta, Sept 1934 (File 3) - Box 3

London - Paris - Rome - (Athens) - Tunis - (Algiers) - Cairo, Sept 1937 (File 4) - Box 3

Aerodrome information: Brindisi, Athens, Nicosia (foolscap typescript), Sept 1934 (File 5) - Box 3

Series 8. Aircraft manuals

Manual of instructions of the Gipsy Moth, c. 1931 (File 1) - Box 3

Care and maintenance of the D.H. Gipsy Major, 1934 (File 2) - Box 3

Handling notes, Cessna 172 (File 3) - Box 3

Flight radio operator's manual, 1963 (File 4) - Box 3

Amplification - daily inspection schedule Gipsy Major engine (File 5) - Box 3

Series 9. Pilot's certificates and licences, 1930-79

Private pilot's certificate and licence, Australia, 1930 (File 1) - Box 4

Pilot's certificate and licence (passenger, mail or goods), Australia, 1932 (File 2) - Box 4

Private pilot's certificate and licence, Great Britain, 1934 (File 3) - Box 4

Flight Crew Licences, 1962, 1970, 1979 (File 4) - Box 4

Sporting licence, Royal Federation of Aero Clubs of Australia, 1973 (File 5) - Box 4

Licence in Arabic script (File 6) - Box 4

Series 10. Passports, 1926-74

1926 (File 1) - Box 4

1955 (File 2) - Box 4

1962 (File 3) - Box 4

1967 (File 4) - Box 4

1974 (File 5) - Box 4

Series 11. Aircraft account cards, 1938-60

Cards issued by fuel suppliers authorising the purchase of aircraft fuel on credit.

1938 (File 1) - Box 4

1959 (File 2) - Box 4

1960 (File 3) - Box 4

Series 12. Miscellaneous

Two radio broadcast typescripts, 29 Dec 1934, 22 March 1941 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4

Indian Women Pilots' Association: minutes of meeting and list of members, 1979 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4

Results sheet, Freda Thompson Aerial Derby, 1983 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4

Typescript account by Thompson of her England - Australia trip (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4

Typescript article on Thompson by Margaret Keatley, annotated (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4

Typescript tribute by Thompson to aviatrix Nancy Lyle (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4

Extract from The North-west aerial frontier, 1919-1934, by Edward Wixted, 1985 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4

Copy of Pixie O'Harris sketch of Thompson (original in Pictorial Section) (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4

Copies of envelopes from E.A. Crome aviation collection, 1934 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4

Series 13. Photograph

Large photograph of Thompson in flight gear, holding cap and goggles. (File 1) - Folio-Box 1

Series 14. Objects

Slide rule and manual, 1925 (File 1) - Box 4

Coronation and war medals (File 2) - Box 4

O.B.E. medallion (File 3) - Box 4

R.A.C. medallion and two others (File 4) - Box 4

Thompson's cap and goggles (File 5) - Folio-Box 2


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