Coat of arms

Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
Senator for South Australia

Media Release
22 October 2021

Stamp to Commemorate Australia’s First Scheduled Air Service

Australia Post is to commemorate the centenary of Sir Norman Brearley creating Australia’s first scheduled air service, with a new postage stamp issue.

Lead by Sir Norman Brearley, three aircraft left Geraldton, Western Australia, to travel to Derby, northeast of Broome, on December 5, 1921 for the inaugural flight of Australia’s first scheduled air service. This route was the first regular airmail contract to be awarded.

Until air travel became viable, boat and rail were the main forms of logistics for mail and passenger transport which resulted in significant delays.

Senator for South Australia, Senator the Hon David Fawcett, welcomed the announcement of Australia Post’s stamp issue today, which has a personal connection.

“Lt. Robert Norman Fawcett, my great uncle who served in the Australian Flying Corps, piloted one of the three Bristol tourer aircraft which departed Geraldton, travelling to Derby on the inaugural flight,” Senator Fawcett said.

“Tragically, Lt. Fawcett’s plane crashed at Murchison House Station, near Kalbarri, on the mid-west coast of WA. He and the mechanic Edward Broad aboard the plane were killed.”

“At just 23 years of age at his death, Lt Fawcett had already served in the 3rd Light Horse Regiment and in the AFC during WWI – training as a pilot while in Egypt.”

“When Brearley, Fawcett and Leonard Taplin sought to pilot the three aircraft to Derby – approximately a 2,000 kilometre journey – air travel was less than 20 years old. Just 18 years earlier, the Wright Brothers successfully flew 36 metres.”

“This centenary marks a significant milestone in the history of Australia’s aviation industry.”

“The bravery and sacrifice of these men is celebrated through the release of a collection of stamps, as their actions paved the way for regular commercial aviation and mail transport. I commend Australia Post for this initiative and the City of Geraldton for coordinating events in December this year to mark this centenary.”

For more information on this centenary, visit