The Flying Kangaroo Was A Big Leap Forward Down Under

November 16, 1920

Arrival at Longreach of the Armstrong Whitworth FK8 with the first bag of air mail on the inaugural flight of the first Qantas air service from Charleville to Cloncurry, 22 November 1922

The longtime airline Quantas was established as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited at the Gresham Hotel in the city of Brisbane in the Australian state of Queensland. The company’s founders were World War I veterans Paul McGinness, Hudson Fysh, Fergus McMaster, and Arthur Baird. 

One of the key events bringing about that joint partnership took place when McMaster, a wealthy sheep raiser, was driving across the sandy bed of Queensland’s Cloncurry River. His automobile broke an axle there, and McGinness appeared on the scene to help with recovery efforts. McGinness and Fysh subsequently outlined their plans for an air service to McMaster, who eagerly became a partner in their efforts and helped invest in the fledgling enterprise. Baird, who had considerable experience as an aircraft mechanic, likewise became a part of this new initiative.

McMaster became Quantas’ chairman. He would remain in that position until the airline was taken over by the Australian government in 1947. Quantas, while at first providing only air mail services subsidized by the Australian government within Queensland, ultimately experienced dramatic growth both elsewhere Down Under and on an international scale. The airline, nicknamed “The Flying Kangaroo,” is Australia’s flag carrier and largest airline. It is also one of the oldest airlines still in operation.

For more information on the founders of Quantas, please check out

Additional information on Quantas and other longtime airlines in existence today is available at

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