(11/10/2017 – 13/10/2017)
Longreach was about 2 hours south of Winton. Just kms and kms and kms of very dry landscape and there is so much roadkill on the highways around here. All those poor animals…… We arrived in Longreach and checked in to the Longreach Tourist Park for 2 nights. There weren’t too many trees around for shade!!! But we are used to the red dust, dirt and heat now which is all part and parcel of the outback!!!!
Longreach Tourist Park was a huge park which provided many choices of accommodation. They had good clean facilities and a lovely pool which we swam in.
Longreach itself is the heart of the Outback and there are many local attractions and things to do.
We decided to do a tour of the Qantas Founders Museum. Our admission included access to the main exhibition hall, Catalina Flying Boat and the National Heritage Listed Qantas Hangar (containing DH-50 and DH-61 aircraft) and guided tours of a Boeing 747 and 707 planes. The Museum is all about the start of Qantas in the outback in the 1920s to the present day. We spent around 6 hours there, it was amazing and we thoroughly enjoyed the day there!!
On 16 November 1920 ‘Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd’ was formed by three men Sir Hudson Fysh, Paul McGinness and Sir Fergus McMaster. A fourth man, Arthur Baird established the reputation for engineering excellence that Qantas has never lost.
We started off the morning with a 1.5 hours guided tour of two planes, a Boeing 747 and Boeing 707. We were able to walk around inside and out of both of them. We were also able to view an old DC-3 plane which Qantas used to destinations such as Papua New Guinea.
The Boeing 747 plane, known as ‘City of Bunbury’, was the first Qantas aircraft to be named after a Western Australian town. It was named in honour of the 150th anniversary of the State. It was delivered to Qantas in 1979 and its last service operated was 9 November 2002 from Perth to Sydney and then it was delivered to Longreach on 16 November 2002 for the museum. It has flown 92,125 hours and has carried 5,400,000 passengers and has flown 82.54 million kms (2000 trips around the world).
The Boeing 707 at the museum was the first 707 to be sold outside the USA. It was converted to a luxury charter jet to the rich and famous and it was also once a personal jet of a Saudi prince. It has been in the museum for around 10 years. John Travolta also owns and pilots a Boeing 707 similar to this one.
There were so many exhibits in the museum. They also had a Bristol Fight Simulator, the aircraft Qantas founders, McGinness and Fysh flew together in WW1.
Sitting outside the museum was a 1944 Catalina Flying Boat that you could climb up into and have a walk through. This was an example of the type of aircraft Qantas pilots flew during WWII.
The following day we went to the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame where we watched an Outback Stockman’s show.
It was a great one man comedy show but it also showcased traditional Australian stockman skills. The fellow who ran the show, John Hawkes, cracked a couple of ribs that morning and he still went on with the show!!!! Make ’em tough in the outback!!!!
Andrew even got picked out of the crowd and had to do some sheep sorting.
The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre opened in 1988 and tells the story of outback Australia through five major galleries: Our Story, Pioneers, Outback Properties, Royal Flying Doctors, and Stockworkers. The museum tells the stories of Aboriginal people, the history of white settlement, explorers and pioneers. The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame honours all men, women, and children living in the remote Australian Outback, from the past to presence. Its a wonderful insight into the history of outback Australia which was extremely interesting and informative.
On the Friday afternoon we encountered our first country thunderstorm that rolled in and around for a few hours!!! On Saturday morning, all was clear and sunny again as we packed up and we then headed down to Lara Wetlands.
(11/10/2017 – 13/10/2017)