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Location: Winton, Queensland, Australiamap
Surnames/tags: Queensland Australia Northern Territory
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Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services


The Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services, better known as QANTAS and Qantas, was founded at Winton, Queensland on 16th November 1920, by aviators Sir Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness, together with pastoralists Ainslie Templeton and Sir Fergus McMaster (as Chairman), medical doctor Hope Michod, and others. The fledgling airline moved its headquarters to Longreach the following year and to Brisbane in 1930. Qantas is today the third oldest airline in the world.

The inaugural directors were:

  • Fred Bode (Director 1921-22)
  • (Sir) Hudson Fysh, pilot (Director and Manager from 1921; Chairman from 1947)
  • Alexander Kennedy, pastoralist (a provisional director in 1920 only)
  • Paul McGinness, pilot (Director 1920-27)
  • T B McIntosh, pastoralist, Burketown (Director 1920-22)
  • Sir Fergus McMaster, pastoralist Winton (Director from 1920; Chairman 1921-23, 1927-47)
  • Doctor Hope Michod, medical doctor, Longreach (Director from 1921; Chairman 1923-27)
  • G Morgan Reade (Director 1921-30)
  • Ainslie Templeton, pastoralist (Director 1920-47)
  • Norman White, pastoralist, Isisford (Director 1921-30)

Arthur Baird, an engineer with whom both McGinness and Fysh had worked in the No.1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, was promptly headhunted to manage the technical and maintenance side of the company and brought from Sydney to Longreach.

Queensland's First Air Mail.

With an AV Roe Avro 504K Sunbeam Dyak (G-AUBG) and an old Royal Aircraft Factory BE2E (G-AUBF) war-disposals aeroplane McGinness and Fysh, as the initial pilots, engaged in taxi, ambulance and stock inspection services, and joy-riding. Fysh was also employed as manager. Other than for an Avro triplane, a Bristol Fighter and three AWFK8s, the fleet was soon comprised mostly of de Havillands of several models, including DH4, DH9C, DH50A, DH50J, DH61, DH80 (Puss Moth) and DH83 (Fox Moth).

QANTAS Air Ambulance

In 1928, Qantas was contracted to operate the first flying doctor service on behalf of Reverend John Flynn’s Australian Inland Mission. Beginning in May from a base at Cloncurry, the service flew 225 patients in its first year of operation.

Qantas de Havilland DH50

Qantas Empire Airways

Qantas was re-named Qantas Empire Airways in 1934 as it moved into international flight, having gained the air mail contract for Singapore-Australia, as part of the Britain-Australia partnership with Imperial Airways (later BOAC and British Aiways). The aeroplane of choice from 1934 to 1938 was the de Havilland DH86, replaced in 1938 by the new flying boat, the Short S23 Empire. Alhough many of their staff joined the Royal Australian Air Force during the second World War, Qantas continued to operate and fill an important niche.

Post war

In late 1945 the Commonwealth Government, under Prime Minister and Treasurer Ben Chifley, bought out the 50% of QEA owned by the then British Government-owned BOAC (now British Airways). In 1947 it bought out the remaining 50% of QEA, from Qantas and private shareholders. The era of government-owned airlines had arrived. Without hesitation, the government provided £1,000,000 for the purchase of Lockheed Constellation 749s; to be named in honour of Australian pioneer aviators Ross Smith, Lawrence Hargrave, Harry Hawker, Charles Kingsford Smith, Bert Hinkler and Horace Brinsmead. The government also by this time had set-up Trans Australia Airlines (TAA). The other major Australian airline in the late 1940s was that of (Sir) Reginald Ansett, who added Ivan Holyman's Australian National Airline (ANA) to his fleet in the 1950s. (Sir) Fergus McMaster relinquished his position as founding Chairman due to progressing ill-health, to be succeeded by (Sir) Hudson Fysh, who also remained Managing Director. Qantas again re-located their headquarters, this time to the Sydney CBD, New South Wales.

QANTAS Lockheed at Heathrow Airport

The crew of the Constellations included for the first time, air hostesses, the initial nine ladies being Misses Rosetta Allison, Joyce Bruce, Patricia Burke, Margaret Calf, Joy Daniell, Marjorie de Tracy (Senior Air Hostess), Adrienne Gudlinger, Margaret Lamb and Irma Wharton. By 1966 there were 500 air hostesses at Qantas.

In 1955, Sir Hudson Fysh stood down as Managing Director, a position he had held for 32 years, becoming full-time Chairman. His place, as Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, was taken by C O Turner. Later that year, Sir Keith Smith, a Director since 1934, passed away. By 1956 the Constellations had been replaced by a fleet of sixteen Super Constellations.

In 1957, Qantas gained permission to land in both San Francisco and New York, and to operate over the USA. By so doing, the new routes enabled the airline to become the first to fly commercially around the globe and to become one of the world's truly great airlines.

The Jet Age

In 1959 Qantas received the first of its Boeing 707-138 aircraft, powered by Pratt & Whitney JT3C-6 jet engines – the City of Canberra. The purchase price per aeroplane was £2,185,000.


Australian Aviation Hall of Fame

Such is the influence that Qantas has had on the Australian aviation industry that several folk associated with the airline have been inducted into the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame as those whose outstanding contributions have significantly advanced aviation and areospace in Australia, and who continually inspire future generations:

Qantas Founders Museum

The Qantas Founders Museum, Sir Hudson Fysh Drive, Longreach, offers a definitive experience of Qantas from the early days in Outback Queensland to present day, combining easy to read displays, oral history, genuine artefacts and interactive multimedia exhibits. The museum is custodian of significant Qantas aircraft, including the Boeing 747–238 (VH-EBQ) City of Bunbury, the DC-3 (VH-EAP) and the Boeing 707–138 (VH-EBA) City of Canberra – the first jet aircraft Qantas owned. The award winning McGinness’ Restaurant is one of the most popular eateries in Longreach with locals and visitors alike. The Trustee to the Qantas Foundation Memorial Trust, trading as the Qantas Foundation Memorial (QFM), is the parent company of Qantas Founders Museum.


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