The Qantas Ad that Changed Paul and Ell's Lives

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As Qantas nears its 100th birthday, we celebrate the people who help make it the spirit of Australia. Paul and Ell Van Der Toorren met as children performing in the I Still Call Australia Home campaign in 2000.

PAUL: “Ell was nine and in the Australian Girls Choir and I was 10 and a member of the National Boys Choir. We were flown to Uluru and happened to stand next to each other; we talked a little and I had a crush on Ell but was too shy to do anything about it. We didn’t realise then but we lived a couple of suburbs from each other in Melbourne. We reconnected a few years later through a mutual friend.”

ELL: “We would hang out every so often as teenagers and I thought Paul was cute and hilarious. We started dating properly when we were 18 and 19 and ever since then I haven’t been able to stay away.”

PAUL: “I realised early on that I wanted to marry Ell. I’m a bit sentimental and thought it would be great to go back to Uluru to propose to her. Ell is a wedding photographer and she has seen a lot of incredible romantic moments so I wanted my proposal to be an extra-special surprise. In 2016 I contacted Qantas and they helped me create a ruse to get Ell to Uluru by pretending we were going to film a documentary. I proposed at sunset on one knee by the Field of Light .”

ELL:  “We had dinner under the stars, which was a perfect end to the most special night. It’s surreal to think that’s where we’d met all those years earlier. A year later we were married and last year we had our beautiful son, Jones.”

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Paul and Ell Van Der Toorren with baby Jones

PAUL:  “Qantas ultimately played a very special part in our history because without that commercial, Jones might not be here.”

ELL:  “We still sing, mainly to Jones. When he’s old enough we want to show him where we met. We were drawn together in a number of ways in life but it all comes back to that meeting as kids.”

If you have a personal story about Qantas, please email qantas100@mediumrarecontent.com

SEE ALSO: The Flight A Qantas On Board Manager Will Never Forget

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