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 7 August 2019


Left to right: George Gorham, Paul McGinness and Hudson Fysh

On Monday 19 August 2019, Qantas Founders Museum will celebrate the 100th anniversary of a 51-day drive by three World War One veterans through Northern Australia which would lead to the creation of Australia’s National Airline, Qantas and impact the lives of communities in Outback Queensland and around Australia.

On 19th of August 1919, Longreach Mechanic George Gorham and pilots Paul McGinness and Hudson Fysh, departed Longreach heading for the Gulf of Carpentaria in a 1919 Model T Ford. They had been hired by the Department of Defence to create landing grounds across northern Australia for competitors flying in the 1919 Air Race from the United Kingdom to Australia.

It was during this trip across remote and rough terrain that Paul McGinness conceived the idea to create an air service for Northern Australia. By the time the men reached Darwin, McGinness and Fysh had largely worked out a plan to establish an airline and now needed to find supporters and investors. In 13 months, the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services, Ltd was registered as a company in Brisbane on 16 November 1920.

Qantas Founders Museum will celebrate this important event in the history of Qantas by taking its own Model T Ford vehicle from the Museum collection and driving it through the streets of Longreach, visiting local caravan parks, schools and child care centres.

Dressed in period costume, Qantas Founders Museum Curator Tom Harwood and Buildings Maintenance Manager Bruce Searles will demonstrate how extraordinary and difficult the journey would have been for these men and how incredible the Model T Ford was to survive the journey!

Qantas Founders Museum Curator said the 1919 drive was a significant moment in Qantas and Australia’s aviation history.

“In many ways, this was the ultimate off-road adventure, the few roads that existed were normally used by steel-tyred horse-drawn coaches and bullock wagons and these blokes had to create their own tracks across rough country in a basic 2-wheel drive car with no support services.

“This trip highlighted how remote and isolated Outback Queensland and Northern Territory communities were and what a major impact an aerial service would have in the region,” Mr Harwood said.

The planned trip by Qantas Founders Museum’s Model T Ford on Monday 19 August 2019 to celebrate this milestone is as follows:

8.00am – Visit Longreach caravan parks and Longreach Apex Park
9.30am – Media photo opportunity in front of the National Heritage Listed Qantas Hangar
10.00am – Visit to the Longreach Council Child Care
10.45am – Visit to the Longreach Kindergarten

11.30am – Photo opportunity in front Longreach Motor Co Ltd Building (the original Ford dealer for Longreach) at 33 Swan Street.

11.45am – Drive down Eagle Street

12.00pm – Photo opportunity in front of the Longreach Visitors Information Centre at 99A Eagle Street

1.30pm – Visit to Our Lady’s Catholic School
2.30pm – Visit to the Longreach State School


For more information about the 1919 Drive, please see the link below to an article written by Qantas Founders Museum Curator Tom Harwood.




Qantas Founders Museum is a not for profit organisation which tells the story of Australia’s national airline, Qantas Airways, and how it began in Western Queensland in 1920. The museum, which has an annual visitation of 47,000 people, has a variety of exhibits, interactive displays, artefacts and aircraft including an original Qantas Boeing 747-238, Qantas’ first Boeing 707 – 138, a DC3, a Super Constellation and a Catalina flying boat together with replicas of early-era aircraft.

To donate to the museum and its projects, go to: and follow the links or contact the museum by phone on: 07 4658 3737 or email:


Media Contact: Nicole Kuttner – Qantas Founders Museum – email or call 07 4658 3737 or 0428583787

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