Larger text size icon Smaller text size icon

Place Names Register Extract

Kathryn Flynn

If you know of any information about this place name which does not appear in this extract, please let the Place Names Committee know by completing a submission form.

Print Extract | Search Again

Name Kathryn Flynn
Type Designation Park
Place Id 25067
Place Type Park or Cemetery
Status Registered
Date Registered 22 August 2022
Location (Datum GDA94)  
Latitude: -12° 24' S (Decimal degrees -12.41128)
Longitude: 130° 54' E (Decimal degrees 130.91514)
View Map | View in NT Atlas | View in Google Earth
Locality / Suburb  
Local Government Area  
  Darwin City Council
History/Origin Kathryn Flynn was born Kathryn Anne Henderson in 1941 in the seaside town of Port Lincoln, South Australia, the seventh of eight children to Maurice and Mary Henderson. Maurice had flown with the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II as a radio operator; flying appears to have run in the family as five of his children went on to obtain their pilot's licence. Kathryn was schooled at the Cabra Dominican College in Adelaide, where she was head prefect. She went on to nursing at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, and in November 1961 was one of the first South Australians to take up the new sport of sky-diving.

Practising her sport jumps on her weekends, Kathryn continued work in nursing and trained in midwifery at St Margaret's Hospital in Sydney. Kathryn also pursued her commercial pilot's licence, and in 1968 she and her younger sister Christine were the first women to graduate as commercial pilots from the training college in Cessnock, NSW. Kathryn became the private pilot for a businessman whose work took them all over Australia and it is while on such a visit to remote Nhulunbuy in northeast Arnhem Land that Kathryn met John Flynn in 1972. The pair married the following year and the Northern Territory became home to Kathryn, where she and John raised their five children.

Kathryn continued to fly, and pursued further studies in health at the then Northern Territory University. In the 1990s she worked as a pilot and research assistant at the Menzies School of Health Research travelling across the NT. Kathryn had an interest in the social and cultural aspects of disease and worked on a public health study of Aboriginal children in remote areas. Having lived in Nhulunbuy in the 1970s, Kathryn is said to have had an affinity with the people she visited and worked with in remote areas. She often returned to Nhulunbuy to catch up with friends and volunteered each year at the Garma Festival.

Kathryn also volunteered for and was an active member of several organisations that advocated for women, health and social outcomes, including the role of president at various times in branches of the Women's Electoral Lobby, Catholic Women's League, Nursing Mother's Association, Zonta Club, and the Australian Women Pilots' Association. She was also the president of the Australian chapter of the International Organization of Women Pilots, also known as the Ninety Nines, with which organisation Kathryn organised the 99s styled compass rose at Darwin International Airport.

Kathryn is remembered for her pioneering role as a woman in parachuting and aviation. She has been represented on the Women's Museum of Australia and Old Gaol Alice Springs' Hall of Fame and the Signature Quilt, in the Women with wings: Images of Australian women pilots exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo NSW and in the Stockman's Hall of Fame, Longreach QLD. She arrived in the NT in the early 1970s and immediately loved the Territory, its lifestyle and people.

Kathryn passed away aged 66 on 30 September 2007, one day after seeing her beloved Port Adelaide team play in the Australian Rules Football Grand Final in Melbourne. Rather fittingly, her friends organised a flyover at her funeral in Darwin. At the Yolnu ceremony held in Kathryn's honour at Birritjimi Wallaby Beach, Arnhem Land, friends celebrated her spirit in the auspicious appearance of the sea bird.

Register & Gazettal information

Date Gazettal Comment
22/08/2022 Certified Plan S2022/037
Print Extract | Search Again