MacRobertson-Miller Aviation
MacRobertson-Miller Airlines
MacRobertson-Miller Airline Services


ICAO Code: -

Known As: MMA

Full Name: Mac.Robertson-Miller Aviation Co. Pty. Ltd.

Country: Australia

Call sign: Miller

Objects in Collection

Brief History

During 1919, Captain Horatio (later Horace) ‘Horrie’ Clive Miller H.C. Miller purchased Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8 G-AUCF from the U.K.

 He & his partner, Arthur A. Kennedy, also an ex-WWI pilot, launched the Commercial Aviation Company, in Rochester, Vic. (near Kennedy’s home). It initially operated mainly joy-flights & charters, based in Victoria.

On 8 October, 1920, the Commercial Aviation Company was registered.

On 8 July, 1921, Horrie Miller began correspondence with the Controller of Civil Aviation on his proposal to operate a subsidised Adelaide-Eyre Peninsula, SA service, using flying boats.

Discussions, on variations of the proposal, continued, but lapsed in 1923. Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8 G-AUCF, affectionately known as the ‘Ack-W’, was operated from 1921 until sold in September, 1922.

Horrie Miller ordered an Airco D.H.9 from England, but, facing a 6-month wait for its delivery, took a temporary flying job in Brisbane.

During 1923, the Commercial Aviation Company was launched in South Australia. Airco D.H.9 G-AUEU was operated between July, 1926 & 16 February, 1928, when it was damaged in a gale at Port Pirie.

During 1927, the Commercial Aviation Company commenced weekly Adelaide-Mt. Gambier services, using Airco D.H.9 G-AUHT.

Seeking a larger aircraft, Horrie Miller approached old friend MacPherson Robertson, founder of Mac.Robertson’s Company, makers of the then famous ‘Old Gold’ chocolate, seeking £5000 to cover the purchase of an 8-passenger, enclosed-cabin D.H.61 Giant Moth, which Miller had identified as being ideal for his plans.

MacRobertson quickly agreed, subject to the provisos that the arrangement be a partnership & the new aircraft be called ‘Old Gold’.

During late-1927, the MacRobertson-Miller Aviation Co Pty. Ltd. was founded by Horrie C. Miller & MacPherson Robertson. It was not registered until 28 May 1928.

MMA was initially based at Albert Park, South Australia & commenced operations in late-1927; taking over from the Commercial Aviation Co., although the company still used the name The Commercial Aviation Co. as a holding company.

The company initially used Airco D.H.9 G-AUHT, to operate local services out of Adelaide. It was sold in 1936. Horrie Miller planned an Adelaide-Broken Hill service, but considered the D.H.9 inadequate for such a service, which eventually began in January 1930

On 28 May, the MacRobertson-Miller Aviation Company Ltd. was formally registered, with an initial capitalisation of £50,000.

MMA moved its Adelaide base from Albert Park to Parafield in mid-1928. Horrie Miller was the 1st pilot to land at Parafield.

Later in 1931, operations were suspended, due to the Depression.
They were restarted in 1933.

During 1933, operations were restarted, after the winning of a mail contract between Adelaide & Whyalla, Kimba & Cowell with a 6d-per-mile subsidy.

During 1933/4 MMA occasionally chartered Western Mining Corporation's D.H.84 Dragon VH-URG 'Golden West', when its own aircraft were not available.

During early-October, 1934, MacRobertson-Miller Aviation transferred its main base to Perth, W.A., after it won the Commonwealth Government’s contract for North-West services, previously operated by West Australian Airways (MMA bid 1s 6d per mile for the air-mail subsidy, against W.A.A.'s 1s 11d). Pilots Bert Hussey & George McCausland were transferred to W.A.

Horrie Miller moved to Perth & Cyril Kleinig took over as the Manager of the South Australian operations, which continued until they were transferred to Guinea Airways in April 1939.

During 1938, the company introduced ex-QANTAS 10-passenger D.H.86As, VH-USC & VH-USD into service, mainly to cover the increased requirements of the North-West services. They were plagued with ‘ground-looping’ problems. During July, MMA extended its operations from Wyndham to Darwin, using D.H.86s, to provide a connection to the Australia-U.K. flying boat service.

On 12 January, 1939, MMA introduced its 1st Lockheed 10-A Electra, VH-ABW ‘RMA Kimberley’, into service. The 2nd, VH-ABV ‘RMA Gascoyne’, followed the next month.

During February, D.H.86 VH-USD, which had been damaged the previous month, was sold to Tata Airways, in India. During April, after a Department of Civil Aviation ruling, MacRobertson-Miller Aviation handed over their South Australian routes to Guinea Airways.

In February, 1945, MMA reluctantly purchased two D.H.86As (VH-USF & VH-USW) from the RAAF, despite their pre-war experiences with the type, as no other aircraft were available.

On 22 February, 1949, MMA unsuccessfully applied to the Federal Government for approval to operate a weekly service between W.A. & Indonesia.

On 19 August, MacRobertson-Miller Aviation Co. Pty. Ltd. & Airlines (W.A.) Ltd. were merged, to form Mac.Robertson Miller Airlines Ltd., at the request of the Federal Government.

On 1 October, MacRobertson Miller Airlines Ltd. began operations; combining the operations of Mac.Robertson Miller Aviation Co. Ltd. & Airlines (W.A.) Ltd., over a network of more than 32,000 km, from Esperance to Darwin.

On 19 April, 1963, A.T.I. purchased MacRobertsons Pty. Ltd.’s 62% share in MMA, plus some 8% of MMA owned by Horrie Miller, via Miller Investments Pty. Ltd., to give it 70.49% (654,716 of 953,314 shares) of MMA shares, after Mac.Robertson Miller Airlines, in desperate need of funds for new F.27 aircraft (& planned new jet equipment), approached it to purchase a major share.

On 1 June 1963, MacRobertson Miller Airlines Ltd. was renamed Mac.Robertson Miller Airline Services & became a division of Ansett Transport Industries (Operations) Pty. Ltd.

On 1 July, 1981, MacRobertson Miller Airline Services was renamed Airlines of Western Australia & was Australia’s oldest continually-operating domestic airline.

On 26 November 1984, Airlines of Western Australia was renamed Ansett W.A.

On 1 July, 1993, Ansett W.A. operations were merged into Ansett Australia’s operations.

1919 - 1927 Commercial Aviation Co
1927 - 1955 MacRobertson Miller Aviation Co
1935 - 1955 Airlines (W.A.) Ltd
1955 - 1969 MacRobertson Miller Airlines Ltd
1969 - 1981 MMA Airline Services
1981 - 1984 Airlines of Western Australia
1984 - 1984 Air WA
1984 - 1993 Ansett W.A.
1990 - Ansett Australia

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