“No matter how many aircraft museums you’ve visited, you’ll learn things here,” says Tom. “We’ve had former Qantas pilots take the tour, and even they come away amazed.”
Tom Harwood has “always been an aviation tragic” but it wasn’t until he moved to Longreach in outback Queensland that he seriously considered turning his passion into a career. “I was working for the ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corporation] in Longreach and the folks at the Qantas Founders Museum asked me to help them with a research project,” says Tom. “After that, I started tour guiding, and eventually I wound up as museum curator.”
The Qantas Founders Museum tells the story of Australia’s national carrier from its modest beginnings in 1920 to its current status as one of the world’s best-known airlines. “It all began with two young fellas who came out of the army after World War I and got an idea for an air service that would serve remote communities,” says Tom. “Qantas grew and grew, and today it’s our national icon. The founders had a dream and a vision. Through their story, we hope to inspire people to see the possibilities in their own lives and follow through on them.”
In addition to re-living the airline’s early days, visitors to the museum can join the ‘Spirit of Australia’ Platinum Tour and step aboard a Boeing 747 and a Boeing 707 to learn about the planes’ inner workings. It’s the only place in the world where they can take a walk on the wings of both the aircraft.
Cultural Attractions of Australia is pleased to present this series of the stories behind the storytellers who have enriched the experiences of countless visitors to our iconic attractions whilst their doors are temporarily closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.