Queensland town marks centenary of Qantas

Visit Longreach this year to celebrate a major national milestone.

The outback Queensland town of Longreach is cleared for take-off and ready to celebrate the centenary of our international airline Qantas.

Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services (QANTAS) was established in nearby Winton on 16 November 1920. 

The airline started flying the following year, moving its headquarters to Longreach.

The celebrations will centre around the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach with a busy program of events planned.


Museum CEO Tony Martin encouraged Queenslanders to visit throughout the year to gain insight into the early days of Qantas and an understanding of how it has grown and developed.

“Our museum is dedicated to telling the history of Qantas and in 2020 we have a number of exciting events to mark this important anniversary including gala evenings, a fly-in weekend, community events, centenary exhibitions and more,” Mr Martin said.

“There is no better place to understand the trials and tribulations of Qantas and northern Australia’s need for an aerial service in the 1920s than in outback Queensland where you can experience the wide-open spaces, the remoteness of the region and the country communities who supported the airline.”

New roof at Qantas museum

Tickets are now on sale for the Red and White Gala on June 20.

The Red and White Gala will be a standing event in the museum’s new Airpark enclosure where guests will enjoy a variety of good options and a performance by Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra.

The evening will finish with a light and sound show. The dress code is a red and white theme. Tickets are $70 per person and available here.

A special attraction at the museum throughout the year will be a display of 45 dolls dressed in Qantas uniforms from its 100-year history.

The collection is owned by Qantas long haul flight attendant Sara Armbrecht (pictured below) who spent hundreds of hours researching and making miniature uniforms for the dolls over a two-year period.

“The Qantas Founders Museum has always been on my bucket list and so I am really happy to visit the museum and for the dolls to be exhibited here,” Sara Armbrecht said.

Museum Curator Tom Harwood said the collection was a unique way to showcase the uniforms of Qantas.

“Qantas has had a variety of uniforms over the years and this collection shows the evolving design of uniforms for staff in all areas,” he said.

The collection will be on display in Qantas Founders Museum’s Main Exhibition Hall throughout 2020.

Qantas Long Haul Flight Attendant Sara Armbrecht with some of the dolls to be put on display.


What's on

The museum’s Qantas Centenary Program of Events:

  • 2 May, Local Community Airpark Roof Launch: The community is invited to explore the museum’s new Airpark roof.
  • 20 June, Red & White Gala: The official opening and celebration of the museum’s new Airpark roof featuring a spectacular light and sound show.
  • 14-16 August: This weekend is for general aviators and enthusiasts to fly to Longreach, join in the celebrations and explore the town.
  • 2-4 October, Centenary Gala Weekend: A weekend of festivities, community activities and special events including an exclusive 1920s gala dinner on the Friday.
  • 16-22 November, Qantas Centenary Birthday Week: A week of activities to celebrate the Qantas centenary.
  • January-December, Celebrating the Centenary of Qantas Exhibition Series: Harry Rogers – Inspiring us to travel with Qantas, 3 February-30 April; Icons of Australian Skies by Mark Wilson, 5 May-2 August; Our Qantas, Our People, 5 August-31 December.

About Qantas Founders Museum:

The museum is a not-for-profit organisation which tells the story of Qantas and how it began in western Queensland. It attracts 47,000 visitors annually and its exhibits include interactive displays, artefacts and aircraft including an original Qantas Boeing 747-238, the airline’s first Boeing 707-138, a DC3, a Super Constellation and a Catalina Flying Boat as well as replicas of other aircraft.

Outback Aussie Tours

Explore Queensland’s heartland towns of Longreach and Winton on a top-selling seven-day tour. Visit the Australian Age of Dinosaurs, the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame, Qantas Founders Museum and more. Bonus two-for-one rail offer on now until 31 March. Talk to the RACQ Travel team today on 1300 888 449 to find out more.

All information in this story was correct at the time of writing. Please check the Qantas Founders Museum website for event updates.