staff and customer stories
Since our beginnings in outback Queensland in 1920, so many people from Australia and around the world have been part of the Qantas journey. From the heartfelt to the historic, the inspiring to the extraordinary, their stories have helped make the Spirit of Australia what it is today.
Thank you to all of our staff and customers for being part of our Centenary celebrations. Here’s to our next 100 years.
“When Australians see that big red tail, they know they're home...”
Irene Fong went above and beyond the call of duty while helping to bring Australians home after the devastation in Bali.
Find out what the Spirit of Australia means to her and our other staff members by watching their stories.
-Irene Fong, Cabin Crew
Our visionary veteran
A true visionary believes that not only the impossible can be done, but that it must be done. So when Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness, first travelled through the outback on an assignment in 1919, and saw the isolation and hardship that people faced, they knew that an air service could help Australia’s remote communities. And although their idea seemed impossible at the time, they were determined to make it happen.
- Hudson Fysh, Qantas founder
Following a family tradition
Families pass on their genes, their values and sometimes even their careers. For Tom Abbott, there was no question as to what business he was going into. It was always going to be Qantas. With several of his family members working for the airline, their stories always fascinated him. So, it's little wonder that he followed in their footsteps.
- Tom Abbott, Pilot
The first youngest Qantas passenger
The memory of your first flight is one that stays with you for a lifetime. But for Rosemary Unwin, her recollections of this special moment are a little hazy.
Back in 1936, Rosemary discovered her love of flying a little earlier than most. Taking off with her mother Joyce Richardson, and older brother Edwin, Rosemary was just under three months old. At the time, little Rosemary made big news by being the youngest ever Qantas passenger.
Since then, Rosemary has kept up her ‘life-long love affair with travel,’ prompting people to remark that she flew Qantas the way some people catch a bus.
- Rosemary Unwin, Qantas customer
“A Christmas I’ll never forget.”
While the rest of Australia was getting ready to celebrate the festive season, Darwin was bracing for disaster. On Christmas Day in 1974, Cyclone Tracy hit and devastated the city.
With the people of Darwin in desperate need of support, Marita Wilkinson was one of the many Qantas employees who leapt into action. Answering the nation’s call for help, Marita boarded the first relief 747 aircraft with many other devoted team members. As a junior nurse at the time, in the Medical Department at Mascot Jet Base, she assisted injured people and helped evacuate them from Darwin.
With over 600 people on that flight, Marita remembers that it was so full that some passengers even shared seats. Despite the tragic circumstances, the care and compassion of Marita and the first responders shows how the Spirit of Australia has helped people in their time of need.
- Marita Wilkinson, Former Junior Nurse, Mascot Medical Department