Hudson Fysh

Our visionary veteran.

Hudson Fysh and Paul McGuinness

“We were convinced of the important part aircraft would eventually play...”

When Hudson Fysh set off in 1919 to survey an air race route in the Australian outback, he was unaware of the path this journey would take him and the people of Australia on. This was the fateful trip where the idea for Qantas was born.

While the beginnings of Qantas were formed along the dusty dirt roads between Katherine and Longreach, Fysh's experience in the high-flying world of aviation got off the ground in a very different way. After enlisting at the beginning of World War I, Fysh went on to serve at Gallipoli and in the Australian Flying Corps. It was here that he not only earned the Distinguished Flying Cross but also discovered his passion for aviation and met his future co-founder of Qantas, Paul McGinness.

The assignment was from the Defence Department and tasked Fysh and McGinness with surveying an air race that stretched from Longreach in Queensland to Darwin in the Northern Territory. They travelled for 51 days over 2,179km in a Model T Ford leaving supplies along the way for the competitors.

With imagination and determination, these two war veterans first came up with the idea of Qantas along the dusty dirt roads of the outback.

Fysh later wrote, "We were convinced of the important part aircraft would eventually play in transporting mail, passengers and freight over the sparsely populated and practically roadless areas of western and northern Queensland and north Australia."

Little did Fysh know just how important this air service would become.

- Hudson Fysh, Qantas founder