Launching The Flying Kangaroo

Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness met during the First World War while serving with the No. 1 Squadron of the Australian Flying Corps. On their return, the pair began planning an airline service that would connect Australia to the world.

By Queensland State Archives

The document establishing the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited (QANTAS) Memorandum documenting the establishment of the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited (QANTAS) as a companyQueensland State Archives

On 16 November 1920, the two pilots - Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness - along with wealthy grazier Fergus McMaster, registered the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd as a business and the world-renowned airline Qantas was born.    

The document establishing the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited (QANTAS) Memorandum documenting the establishment of the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited (QANTAS) as a companyQueensland State Archives

Qantas's initial operations, based in Winton, included charter work and joy flights using an Avro 504K built in Sydney. In 1921, the airline moved its headquarters to Longreach.

QANTAS passenger ticket No. 1 for a flight from Longreach to Cloncurry, issued to A. Kennedy (1922-11-02/1922-11-02) by Department of the Premier and CabinetQueensland State Archives

Outback pioneer Alexander Kennedy agreed to contribute financially to the emerging airline and to join its provisional board.

He was given ticket No. 1 on the first scheduled passenger and mail flight. On 2 November 1922, Kennedy boarded the plane for the Longreach to Cloncurry section of the Charleville–Cloncurry service.

Arrival at Longreach of the Armstrong Whitworth FK8 (1922-11-02/1922-11-02) by Department of the Premier and CabinetQueensland State Archives

Before take-off, Fysh, McGinness and Kennedy were photographed with engineer Wilfred Arthur Baird, Sir Fergus McMaster and Dr Archibald Michod, another investor and one of the future directors of the airline.

Qantas Empire Airways aircraft DH.50J VH-ULG "Hippomenes", outside the Qantas hangar at Longreach (1934-01-01/1934-12-31) by Premier and Chief Secretary's DepartmentQueensland State Archives

From 1926 onwards, Qantas built several of its own aircraft and commenced international flights in May 1935 with a service from Darwin to Singapore. Despite losing a number of planes during the Second World War, Qantas continued to grow. 

In 1947, it was nationalised when the Australian Labor Government bought shares in the airline. The earliest Qantas flights between Australia and the UK commenced that year. The flights took 58 flying hours and were broken into multiple stops. 

Arrival at Longreach of the Armstrong Whitworth FK8 (1922-11-03/1922-11-03) by Premier and Chief Secretary's DepartmentQueensland State Archives

In 2018, Qantas began a non-stop route between Perth and London, the first ever direct air service between Australia and Europe.  

A century on from its humble beginnings, Qantas continues to transport Australians around the country and the world, taking pride in its safety, customer service and innovation.  

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