HerStory Archive

ADKINS, Shirley Elaine

Also known as: née Lee

Born: 18/3/1930

Special Achievements:

First woman President of the Royal Aero Club of Western Australia (1979-1984).

First woman elected president of the Royal Federation of Aero Clubs of Australia (1990-1997). 

First woman to be awarded the Oswald Watt Medal (Australia's highest Aviation Award) (1997) - for a most notable contribution to aviation.

Additional Information:

Shirley Adkins started flying as a 16-year-old in 1946 and gained her pilot's licence in 1950 on Tiger Moths. For over 56 years, Shirley was active in aviation as an administrator and competitor.  She has won more than 40 trophies from local, national and Australian Women Pilots Association flying competitions.


  • Image - Shirley Adkins OAM at Jandakot Airport, Western Australia, with a Tiger Moth aircraft on which she learnt to fly (in 1950), June 1992

    Image courtesy of Shirley Adkins, NPWHF collection

  • Audio - Shirley Adkins

    Verbatim programme, ABC, 10 August 2009

    Australian Broadcasting Corporation

  • Image - Shirley Adkins in a Tiger Moth aircraft in which she learnt to fly at Maylands aerodrome, Western Australia, March 1951

    Image courtesy of Shirley Adkins, NPWHF collection

  • Image - Shirley Adkins OAM in a Mooney aircraft at Jandakot airport, Western Australia, 24 May 2002

    Shirley flew in a Mooney aircraft in an air race around Australia (date not known).

    Image courtesy of Shirley Adkins, NPWHF collection