Online histories of “Holyman Airways Ltd” are inaccurate, so I’ve headed back to Trove for relevant newspaper reports to write my own. If there are differences in details, well, I checked the original reports!!
The Holymans were a shipping family in Tasmania. Victor Holyman flew with the British Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Air Force during WW1. It was because of him that the family branched out into flying. In September 1932 Holyman Bros, Pty. Ltd. commenced services between Launceston and Flinders Island in their new De Haviland Fox Moth 4-seater plane, ‘Miss Currie’. They almost immediately merged with Mr Laurie M. Johnson, who had pioneered this service in his Desoutter monoplane, ‘Miss Flinders’. In October they formed a new company, Tasmanian Aerial Services Pty. Ltd. Routes soon included Smithton, King Island, and by September 1933, Melbourne.
The Holymans bought out Laurie Johnson and launched a new airline, Holyman Airways Pty. Ltd. on 1st October 1934. Sadly, Victor and ten others were lost in a flight over Bass Strait on 19th October 1934. His brother Ivan took lead of the airline. Brother Dare Holyman was also in the airline.
The first air hostesses in Australia were introduced by Holyman’s Airways in March 1936. (Victor’s widow Hazel was in charge of their training for many years.) In May, Holyman’s and Adelaide Airways were merged to form a new company, Australian National Airways Pty. Ltd. West Australian Airways was sold to Adelaide Airways in July and so also became part of the new airline.
A.N.A. formally began operation on the 1st August. This name recalled the pioneering Bass Strait service of the same name run by Kingsford-Smith and Ulm in 1931, which ran for 6 months only. In 1939 the 17 year old nephew of Ivan, Maxwell Holyman, was granted his commercial pilot’s licence, and also joined A.N.A. The airline gained a controlling interest in ‘Airlines of Australia’ in 1937 which extended the company’s reach into Queensland, although A.O.A. maintained a public identity until 1942.
The company’s DC-3 aircraft were requisitioned by the Government during the war and it provided services around Australia for the war effort, including for American forces. After the war it faced competition from Trans Australian Airways (T.A.A)., the new state run airline which would ultimately lead to the company’s decline. It was floated as a public company in 1949. ANA was sold to Ansett in 1957 forming Ansett-ANA, which was renamed Ansett Airlines of Australia in 1968.