Nan Witcomb's friends say she is really about seventeen different people. This may well be so, when one considers her variety of occupations and lifestyles.
She attended nine schools, some private and others State(according to the fortunes of her father): she left at fifteen to work at The Bank of Adelaide but by then had already earned her school holiday money by working in a packaging factory and making apple cases. At eighteen, Nan began training at the Adelaide Childrens' Hospital and emerged as a Sister with a silver medal.
She started her flying career with ANA in 1950 and having worked as a flight hostess, trainer, check hostess and assistant senior, she became Senior Regional Hostess in Adelaide in the late fifties.
After twenty three years, Nan left Ansett to manage The Barn Restaurant and Art Gallery and later co-hosted the afternoon radio show on 5DN with Ken Dickin.
She has written lyrics for her friend Lorrae Desmond's ABC-TV shows and many scripts for the 'On The Fringe' Revues for the Adelaide Festival of Arts and for the famous Mavis Bramston TV shows in the'60s.
She has also written four plays which have been successfully staged in South Australia. She has also written several volumes of her 'best selling' Australian poetry 'The Thoughts of Nanushka'.
Nan gave up her radio show at Christmas 1984 to research and write 'Up Here and Down There'. She says with a little help from her friends she can survive almost anything.
Her philosophy on life is reflected in the tribute to Miss Mamie Brown (Headmistress of her ninth and final school, the Wilderness), Matron Holyman and all the people , who through understanding and gentle discipline, helped her through the turbulent years of her youth to become, what she describes, as 'a reasonable human being'.
Reproduced from 'Up here and Down there' a book written by Nan about the adventures of hostessing in Australia with ANA, Ansett and subsidiary airlines .We have Nan's permission to include some stories from this book, which we will include in our 'Anecdote' page over the coming months.
Nan has truly been a 'mother' and confidante to many flight attendants during her years in aviation and even during the demise of Ansett.
To see the President's report of the 'Ansett Down to Earth Club' for 2001 – 2002 click here
Up here and Down there
Anyone interested in purchasing a copy of Nan's book for $15.00 (plus postage). Email Nan - firstname.lastname@example.org. This book is a must for anyone who has worked for ANA, Ansett and subsidiary airlines. It has over 50 years of stories, letters and photographs on air hostessing in Australia.