Phyllis Arnott - The Sun 1931

Phyllis Rogers Arnott, early aviator

Calling anyone who can help out.  Steve Carter, an aviation historian, located near Ballarat in Victoria is seeking any information on Phyllis Arnott, an early Australian Aviatrix.  If you can help or have contacts, Email:-

Phyllis Rogers Arnott (1907-2002) was the first Australian woman to take a commercial pilot’s licence ‘B’ in 1931 (SMH 24/2/1931 p5), though she did not work as a commercial pilot. In the 1930s, she trained as an opera singer and performed professionally.  She is the great aunt of Dr Sophie Scamps, federal member for Mackellar on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

She was the daughter of Dr Halse Rogers Arnott (1879-1961) and Alice Johns.  Dr Arnott was the Chairman of Arnott’s Biscuits Ltd from 1947-1961.  Dr Arnott was the son of Arnott’s founder William Arnott (1827-1901) and his second wife Margaret McLean Fleming (1865-1902), who retired to Strathfield.  Arnotts Biscuits factory was located at Homebush from 1908 and is still the Head Office of its operations.

Phyllis commenced flying in 1929 and in 1931 took her commercial pilot’s licence after 91 hours of solo flying (The Sun 24/2/1931).  Her licence was awarded with completion of a solo flight from Goulburn to Sydney. In 1930, she was one of the Australian women pilots who formed a guard of honour for aviator Amy Johnson when she arrived in Sydney.

The Arnotts Take Wings Evening News 27/2/1930, p6
The Arnotts Take Wings Evening News 27/2/1930, p6

Other members of the Arnott family were early aviators. This included her cousin Jean Sinclair Arnott (later Hill), daughter of Walter Esmond Arnott of Strathfield.

Qantas Airlines named one their A380-842 after Phyllis Arnott.  This appears to still be part of their current fleet.

Phyllis Arnott also pursued her interest in singing and performance.  The article below was published in The Sun March 29, 1939

The Sun March 29 1939
The Sun March 29 1939

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