Bucket List #32 Visit Qantas Founders Museum Winton QLD

To do the full Qantas Experience was not cheap at close to $150 but it was so worth it and it was a full day as well as a half hour light show at night.

I did all 4 tours which included The Museum, Air Park Tour, 747 Wing Walk and Night Light Show.

Qantas Founders Museum was established to preserve the history of the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services which began with an initial meeting in Winton in 1920. 100 years ago this year! Following the initial meeting, the operation was moved to Longreach where it remained until eventually moving to the State capital Brisbane. The links with Longreach have always remained strong and the museum acknowledges and pays respect to the 4 main men who established the fledgling airline now known as Australia’s own. Whilst the Museum is a not for profit organization and not owned by Qantas it does receive generous support from time to time from the airline.

The museum is an interesting walk back in time with a strong emphasis on the histories of Hudson Fysh, Paul McGinness, Fergus McMaster and Arthur Baird, known as The Founders. Fysh and McGinness were wartime buddies who were both decorated for their bravery and skills during WW1 with their flying missions. McMaster was the financial and business guide while Baird was the Chief Engineer.

The Museum includes a walk through the original Qantas hanger, old planes, artifacts and information as well as videos. The whole complex sits alongside the Longreach runway. The Airpark Tour is a guided tour around 4 aricraft including the “City of Bunbury” 747 airplane that was flown in on its last flight to be the centerpiece of the aircraft dispays. Our tour guide Shannon did an excellent job of giving all the relevant facts and figures as well as interesting stories about the planes and some of the passengers.

The 747 Wing Walk was an experience and whilst not earth shattering it was worth doing. Where else in the world can you walk on the wing of a plane? With a maximum of 4 to a tour (only 3 in our group) you get a guided tour through the plane as well as being able to sit in the cockpit as the guide literally runs through every aspect of the controls. And there are over 100 controls and switches that the pilots had to deal with every time they fly. After this it was time to put on the safety harnesses and walk out on the wing. It is a unique experience.

The Night Light Show was nothing if not spectacular. There were probably 50 people allowed on each tour (2 tours per night) and we stood in the middle of the 4 planes looking up at the side of the 747 as a video and light show was displayed on the canvas of the side of the plane. As the story unfolded and the lights danced across the plane you felt a sense of nostalgia. It went for half an hour and was something special to watch and experience.

All up this was 10 out of 10.

Captain of the 747
Out on the wing
The Original Qantas Hangar

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