About the Museum
Qantas Foundation Memorial Ltd (QFM), the trustee company for Qantas Founders Museum (QFOM), Longreach Qld.
An independent project of the Western Queensland people.
The Qantas Founders Museum is a wonderful example of a community getting together
to honour the achievements of a group of remarkable men. The Founders of Q.A.N.T.A.S. not only
established a company which grew to become internationally recognised as a leader in the field of
world aviation, but also made an enormous contribution to the people living in the isolated
communities of the Australian Outback by adapting and developing the technology of the day to great effect.
They overcame the tyranny of distance and established a reliable, safe and viable operation which set the benchmark for others and provided a basis for many other initiatives such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).
Stage 1 is born
In 1988, this community established Qantas Foundation Memorial Ltd (QFM) and formed a trust in
recognition of the enormous service Q.A.N.T.A.S. had given to the people of the Outback.
These efforts culminated in June 1996, with the opening by the Governor General of Australia of the $1.3m Stage 1 of the QFOM in the original Qantas hangar at Longreach.
The visionary foresight of the local community has been vindicated by the steady growth over the next five years of visitor numbers and profitability without government funding assistance.
QFM is directed by a voluntary board and fundraising to this point had consisted of benefit
activities such as the re-enactment of the 1st service, airshow stalls and an art union which
were supplemented by significant seed money from many individuals and organizations such as Boeing,
British Aerospace, Westpac, Ford, Qantas (cash and kind plus the Avro replica), Longreach Regional Shire Council (LRSC)
and the Qld Govt.
Following Stage 1 the airshow activities were increased by mounting substantial displays at Archerfield, Caboolture, Bankstown and Avalon, all staffed by volunteers from the Longreach region and from Qantas. The Easter in the Outback initiative was seriously embraced by QFM with annual events and the staging of a large airshow at Longreach in 1998. The annual charter program was introduced in 1996 and has proved very successful.
Queensland Heritage Trails Network (QHTN)
However it was not until the Centenary of Federation and the associated QHTN initiatives eventuated that the QFM board's original dreams could be realised. The Queensland Govt. through the QHTN, has contributed $5.75m, the Australian Govt. $1.75m and Qantas Airways Ltd in excess of $1m plus resources and in kind. In addition, LRSC have made a substantial contribution and a number of private sector organisations and individuals have responded. Further fundraising is planned to allow us to add to the attraction, expand our range of education, training and development activities and ensure an ongoing program of refreshment and development.
Stage 2 Challenge Inspire Surprise
The aim of this project was to produce an historical perspective on the Founders of this Australian icon with a centralised information resource on the early Q.A.N.T.A.S. history and operating environment. The attraction will enrich, entertain and excite all visitors, regardless of age or culture. An innovative educational facility to challenge and inform the existing and future generations and an environment that will ensure the long term viability of Qantas Founders Museum.
Designed by DesignInc and constructed by Watpac, the building is 3150 sq.m.
It complements the original hangar and meets both heritage and conservation requirements.
The main museum hall has curatorial, display, storage, administration facilities and amenities. Discovery and education centres, theatrette, travelling and temporary exhibition areas, display galleries, kitchen and a restaurant are all housed within the museum complex.
The Display concept covers external and internal areas with links to the original hangar. It includes static, mechanical and hi-tech displays, interactive attractions, artefacts and public art.
A conservation program is under way for this iconic Australian building, still modern in terms of its tubular construction and design. Incorporation of an aircraft construction program and an education centre are planned.
While the project is not necessarily an aircraft museum it does use aircraft to help tell the story.
Most of the significant aeroplanes in Qantas history no longer exist so the QFM have commissioned
several models and also a full size replica of a de Havilland DH61 biplane. This is a larger aircraft
than the Avro 504K, and having fulfilled its fundraising duties at airshows, now resides in the hangar
and gives old and young alike a sense of the early days of aviation.
Aircraft on display are; Boeing 747, Boeing 707, Avro 540K (replica), de Havilland DH61 (replica), Douglas Corporation DC-3.
In late 2002 Qantas gifted a retiring Boeing 747-200 to Qantas Founders Museum. The only one in Australia open to the public with parts of the interior cut away for viewing. The guided tours are very popular. Bookings essential.
The original charter of the museum was to tell the story of the birth of Qantas to 1936 but at a recent meeting it was decided to comply with the public wishes and expand the installation to tell the complete story of the Qantas history. This will be a massive undertaking and take an enormous amount of work and require large additional expenditure for the future. With our existing achievements and continuing support, this is attainable.
Qantas Foundation Memorial wishes to express their thanks to the myriad of contributors and Qantas Airways Ltd and in
particular the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments for helping this project grow wings and fly.
This would not be achieved without the past, present and future volunteers.