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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

QANTAS Hangar joins National Heritage List

Media release
2 May 2009
PG/261

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One of Australia's earliest civil aviation sites, which is also the birthplace of QANTAS operations, has been included in the National Heritage List, Minister for Heritage Peter Garrett announced today in regional Queensland.

Mr Garrett joined Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, QANTAS executives and other special guests at Queensland's Longreach airport to celebrate the listing of the QANTAS Hangar.

Paying tribute to those who shaped QANTAS in its early years, Mr Garrett said, "This year marks the 90th anniversary of the QANTAS story and I'm delighted to help celebrate this milestone by placing the QANTAS Hangar on the National Heritage List.

"In August 1919 two returned World War I airmen, Paul McGinness and Hudson Fysh, started surveying an air route in hot and dusty western Queensland.

"This was a time when many people thought flying was a reckless pursuit. But McGuiness and Fysh saw the possibilities of commercial aviation for mail, freight and passengers.

"After the first QANTAS board meeting at Winton all operational activities were transferred to Longreach, and by August 1922 a hardy steel and galvanised iron hangar, the first to be built in Australia, was complete.

"By 1930 QANTAS reached its first million miles, and moved its headquarters to Cloncurry. It became a public company in 1947 and entered the jet age in July 1959 with its first Boeing 707.

"Longreach and the first QANTAS hanger are also associated with another important Australian aviation event - in the early years the Aerial Medical Service, now the Royal Flying Doctor Service, used Longreach planes for its flights.

"Founded at Cloncurry by the Reverend John Flynn - 'Flynn of the Inland' - the Aerial Medical Service flew about 17,000 miles in its first year. The service has continued to grow - at the end of 30 June 2007, over 242,000 patients were attended, from an area of more than seven million square kilometres."

Mr Garrett today also attended the unveiling of a new memorial to the Tree of Knowledge in Barcaldine, the site associated with the founding of the labour movement in Australia. Regrettably the 150 year old tree was poisoned a few months after it was included on the National Heritage List in 2006.

"For more than 100 years this important place has been associated with the political and social events that had a profound effect on the future of labour and politics in Australia.

"I congratulate the Barcaldine Council on constructing this new memorial, which was supported by the Federal and state governments, as it celebrates this historic site's importance to our nation," Mr Garrett said.

The QANTAS Hangar at Longreach joins 81 other National Heritage-listed places, including the Tree of Knowledge, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Bondi Beach and Kakadu National Park on Australia's premier heritage list. For more information visit www.heritage.gov.au 

Commonwealth of Australia