Today I got to live the dream and visit somewhere that I had wanted to visit ever since arriving in Australia - in fact from even before then. Some of you won’t know and some will, but I actually went for and sat my Pilots licence in the mid 70’s taking it right through to flying as pilot in charge and flying solo – oh the dreams and the experience. Interestingly enough, when I recently renewed my NZ drivers licence they would not include my bus licence as I had not renewed it on my next visit back to NZ following its expiration – however as I understand it I can renew my pilots licence by justbringing my hours up to date. Dumb eh!
The Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach is devoted to telling the story of Q.A.N.T.A.S. and the struggles that Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness endured to build the second registered airline in the world. The Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd was formed on the 16th November 1920 in Winton but the next year relocated to Longreach. Built around the original 1922 National heritage hangar, the museum blends historical artifacts and multimedia displays.
A Qantas 747 Jumbo jet, "City of Bunbury" VH-EBQ is on display along with a number of other planes. Gill and I took the tour - well worth it may I say. On the tour we saw the 747's computer bay, flight system and a unique chance to sit in the pilot's seat. For those of you who travelled recently with Peter to Lake Eyre his first question was “can we see it going” – then as you will see he was happy to take the co-pilots seat ready for takeoff.
We spent some 5 hours there and saw all that the museum had to offer including de Havilland DH61 biplane, the Avro 504K and a DC3 which was the first plane that Peter can remember flying on – from New Plymouth to Wellington in New Zealand to visit his Grandparents with his sister Gill. (surprise surprise the thing that he remembers most is throwing minties at other passengers!)
Some basic facts about Longreach, it has a population of approx 4000 depending on which site you look it up on, is approximately 700 kilometres from the coast, west of Rockhampton. The town is named after the "long reach" of the Thomson River on which it is situated. The town was formalised in 1887, and the railway reached the town in 1892, causing the population to grow. The temperature was 23 degrees today after a really cold night of around 2 degrees.