On 24 November 1969, I commenced training to become a Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) air hostess in School 215.  

The Whispering T-Jet era commenced around 1967.  TAA and no doubt Ansett as well, recruited for air hostesses across Australia.  In my School 215, there were thirty-seven young women on that first day in 1969 at Essendon Airport.

As the largest intake of trainee air hostesses in the history of TAA to that date, we were all marched out of class for a group photograph in one of the hangars at Essendon Airport.  I’ve attached the memorable image.

I flew with TAA from three years from 1969 – 1972 and joined Air New Zealand in November 1972 – November 1977.  During my first year in Melbourne in 1970, the new airport at Tullamarine opened.  I will always remember my training and first year of flying out of Essendon Airport.  It was also at Essendon Airport when I saw Princess Anne arriving in Melbourne with the Queen, Prince Philip and the Prince of Wales.  Princess Anne disembarked first, if I remember correctly.  This tour was part of our bi-centenary celebrations of Captain James Cook sailing up the east coast of Australia in 1770.

I shared a flat on Buckley Street in Essendon for 12 months. All twelve flats were occupied by TAA and Ansett air hostesses and pilots.  They were wonderful fun times for everyone, all young (most in our early 20s) and from all over Australia.  It was an exciting exodus as pilots and air hostesses completed their training and were transferred to their respective ports – Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and some, like myself from Brisbane, stayed Melbourne.  Many pilots were transferred to Papua New Guinea and many air hostesses followed with a six month posting in PNG.  There were several marriages.  Many of us from Buckley Street, Essendon remain in contact today. We all trained at Essendon Airport.

I clearly remember our TAA School 215 graduation day on 25 February 1970 at Essendon Airport.  Like naughty school girls, five of us left the graduation room to pose for a photograph in front of a DC-3 at Essendon Airport.  There was a magical window of opportunity for the photograph.  Great memory today.


In November 2019 before COVID arrived, our TAA School 215 celebrated 50 years since training with a five-day program in Hobart. Eleven ladies from the original thirty-seven met up in Hobart for the first time in 50 years!!!



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