Longreach: The place where QANTAS started


It makes a stunning impression. As you drive into Longreach, parked right by the highway is a Qantas 747.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBfhJVCsoXs&hl=en&fs=1]

To mark the 82 Birthday of the airline Qantas gave a 747 (apparently they are worth $250million dollars) to Longreach. But the airport is half the length of the landing strip required to land a 747. So they emptied the plane and flew in with minimum crew on board and no back up fuel and landed on this tiny strip in the middle of outback Queensland.

Qantas
We did a bit of Family Bible time in the morning and then headed out to the Qantas museam at the airport. I really hadn't spent any time learning about the history of Qantas before but it is facinating - and it was great to stand inside the hanger where the airline was born.

Two guys who flew together in WW1 came back to Australia and were given the job of maping out some airstrips in central Queensland. They got the idea of starting an airline to serve the bush areas of Queensland and the Northern Territory.

In the background the orginal hanger/office where Qantas began.

I saw their initial pricing schedule. It was based on charter flights with one passenger per flight. And an early ex war pilot was fired after he waited till his two passengers fell asleep then did a loop the loop (like they did in the war).


When you stop and read the history and appreciate those people who bled for the founding of the airline it's kind of sad to see the mess that Qantas is in at the moment with it likely to be taken over or merged with a larger airline.

Stockman's Hall of Fame
When I worked at 2UE (1985-1989) for around 12 months of that time I was the network's rural editor. This meant that I edited and presented three news bulletins each weekday to a national audience on around 50 country radio stations.

During that time I learned everything there was to know about agricultural politics and it was a fascinating time of my life, heading up the country news right at the high point of rural crisis.

In our news reports I covered the whole process of the building of the Stockman's Hall of Fame. Although I had stopped working in rural in 1988 when the Queen came to open it I was very interested in the whole building of the complex - a tribute to the Australian stockman and our outback heritage.

And I resolved that one day I would like to go and see it.

So when we were planning this trip the one place that I was interested in going to see in Queensland was the Stockman's Hall of Fame.

There were five levels to the complex looking at different aspects of the history of bush life in Australia. But the only difference that I could work out when one compared this exhibit to a number of other country heritage museums was that this one had lots of individual profile pieces of various Australian bush characters.

All in all although it was a pleasant and interesting afternoon it didn't measure up to 20 years of eager anticipation.

Back at the caravan park
Hot and dusty and the kids and I had a great time playing piggy in the middle in the pool. Cathie went to the shops to get film developed.

After dinner when the kids were asleep in the camper Cathie and I went into town for a drink at the pub. We were the only customers on a quite Friday night. Although we have spent almost all our time together for the last three weeks - we hadn't really had a deep (just us) conversation for 48 hours - we had been at Qantas museam in AM then Stockman's museam in PM and kids the rest of the time - and just needed to talk.

T-shirt
But I did buy a T-shirt in Longreach:

New York
London
Parish
Longreach

All in all it's a dusty town a long way from nowhere. A lady told Cathie that it's a good place for little kids and old people because the pace of life is slower.