TEN REASONS TO VISIT QANTAS FOUNDERS MUSEUM IN LONGREACH
Qantas Founders Museum is an award winning, not for profit museum in Longreach, Queensland, 1400km North West of Brisbane. The museum, which is not owned or operated by Qantas, was opened in 1996 and is dedicated to telling the story of Qantas Airways from its humble beginnings in Outback Queensland in 1920s to present day.
Many may know that Q.A.N.T.A.S., stands for Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Services. The company was established in 1920 with the first Board Meeting held in Winton, Queensland in February 1921 before moving operations to Longreach. Without the support of Outback Queensland communities and a government mail contract in 1922, this small airline would never have survived.
Over its 98 year history Qantas Airways has many stories to tell from its many employees, to the routes and destinations it flew to and the many types of aircraft it has had in its fleet. The Qantas Founders Museum, tells some of these stories.
Here are ten reasons you should visit Qantas Founders Museum:
- National Heritage Listed Qantas Hangar – Completed in August 1922, this corrugated iron building is the oldest civil aviation building in Australia and makes it one of the most significant items in the museum collection. Qantas operated in this building from 1922 – 1930 and the Qantas Founders Museum has restored the building to resemble what working conditions were like for early Qantas staff members in the 1920s. As a visitor to this building, you will see some of the aircraft engineers were working on in the 1920s, learn the issues they had to conquer working in remote, hot and dusty conditions and learn about Arthur Baird, the first Qantas Engineer – a man who would set high safety standards for the company, something Qantas Airways still benefits from today.
- Main Exhibition Hall – In the main museum building, the main exhibition hall is filled with exhibits and artefacts that introduce the visitor to the early days of Qantas. Aircraft tickets, maps, pilot log books, aircraft engines, video interviews and interactive exhibits explain who the founders of Qantas were, why an airline was needed in Outback Queensland and the Northern Territory and what flying was like in the 1920s.
- The Jet Tour – Included in Qantas Founders Museum’s aircraft collection is a Boeing 747-200 Jumbo Jet, a Boeing 707 and a DC-3. To explore and learn about these aircraft, visitors can go on an hour and a half guided tour known as the Jet Tour. While you may have flown on these aircraft before, this tour will show you parts of the aircraft you would not see as a passenger, including looking into the cockpit of the Boeing 747 and 707 and learning about the many instruments the aircraft have to keep us safe including the Black Box. While the Boeing 747 is impressive, the Boeing 707 is like no other not only because it was the first Qantas jet but its unique history included being converted to a private luxury jet to the rich and famous!
- Interactive Touch Tables – In 2016 and 2017, Qantas Founders Museum introduced two new interactive touch tables. These tables allow visitors to search through hundreds of photos, documents and information. The first one, “Qantas and Defence” explains the involvement of Qantas in all Australian wars, conflicts and missions from 1917 to 2013 – many of these stories relatively unknown to the public. These include the Top Secret Double Sunrise flights in the Second World War that maintained Australia’s link with Britain or the transportation of troops under dangerous conditions during the Vietnam War.
- 747 Wing Walk – Not many people have walked on the wing of a Boeing 747 and fortunately Qantas Founders Museum is one of the few places in the world you can do just that! This hour tour includes access to the Boeing 747 cockpit where you can sit in the pilot’s seat and imagine flying a 380 tonne aircraft, explore the confined spaces of the cargo hold and then finally walk out on the wing of the Boeing 747. What a view!
- Bristol Fighter Simulator – Want to know what it is like to fly a First World War aircraft? Qantas Founders Museum is the only museum in the world to have a World War One Bristol Fighter simulator for you to try your flying skills. This display also explains how men like Qantas Founders Paul McGinness and Hudson Fysh learnt to fly during World War One and this training enabled them to set up an airline.
- Events – Throughout the year Qantas Founders Museum will host a series of events such as concerts, performances, exhibitions and other community events, many of which are free to attend. In the past Qantas Founders Museum has hosted performances from the Queensland Opera and Queensland Music Festival and travelling exhibitions from the National Archives of Australia and the Australian War Memorial. Check out the museum’s website to get information about upcoming events qfom.com.au .
- Super Constellation – By July 2018, Qantas Founders Museum’s current Super Constellation Project will be externally restored and on display. The Lockheed Constellation is an iconic aircraft in the history of Qantas and Australian aviation for the following reasons:
- The Constellation operated the Qantas Kangaroo Route air services between Sydney and London from 1947 and was the first aircraft that enabled Qantas to establish and sustain long-range overseas air services in its own right.
- The Constellation was the first Qantas aircraft to feature flight hostesses.
- The Constellation was the first pressurised aircraft operated by Qantas, bringing significantly increased comfort and operational reliability to long distance routes.
- A Super Constellation operated the first Qantas trans-Pacific air service in 1954.
- Qantas Super Constellations operated the first ever regular round-the-world air service via both hemispheres in 1958.
- McGinness’ Restaurant – The Qantas Founders Museum McGinness’ Restaurant is a favourite with Longreach locals and visitors. Set inside the museum, with aircraft models flying overhead and a view of the Catalina display and runway, the restaurant is an experience in itself! Our aviation themed menu has options (many served on Qantas First class crockery) to suit all levels of hunger.
- Longreach – Qantas Founders Museum is not the only tourism experience in Longreach. We recommend if you are planning to visit Longreach, plan to stay for 3 -4 days and visit tourism operators like Outback Pioneers, Outback Aussie Tours and the Australia Stockman’s Hall of Fame. If you have a little more time, explore the rest of the Longreach region and even take a trip to Winton.