On 2 November 1922, an Armstrong Whitworth FK-8 climbed into the skies above Charleville, Queensland, bound for Cloncurry, 950 kilometres away.
It was the first scheduled flight of Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited, or, more famously, Q.AN.T.A.S.
Founded by W. Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness in 1920, the airlineâs first aircraft were an Avro 504K and Be.2e acquired in early 1921. Q.A.N.T.A.S. carried 871 passengers before it began scheduled flights.
Until mid-1921 there was no aircraft registration or logbook system.
This logbook for their first company aircraft, an Avro 504K (registration G-AUBG) shows the Avro had already flown nearly 193 hours and carried 538 passengers. Signed by Hudson Fysh, the logbook covers the Avroâs entire flying period from November 1921 when the aircraft returned to Longreach from Sydney following repairs for its first major accident at Ingham in north Queensland in August 1921.
The plane was sold in 1926, so later entries appear under the name of the new owner, Matthews Aviation (George Cameron Matthews had been a Qantas pilot) at Point Cook and from 1931, Frank Silverthorn in Newcastle.
In 1923, Hudson Fysh became Manager of Qantas and then Managing Director of Qantas Empire Airways in 1934. When he retired in 1966, the two biplanes had expanded to a fleet of 27 of which 19 were Boeing 707 passenger jets. Today Qantas carries more than 30 million passengers to 145 destinations in 40 countries.