The Formative Years

A DH50 under construction, Longreach circa 1927

In 1924 a four-passenger DH50 with an enclosed cabin was introduced on the Charleville-Cloncurry run, marking the introduction of post-war commercial aircraft to Australia. For the first time passengers did not have to wear a helmet and goggles. The Prime Minister of Australia, S M Bruce, made Parliamentary history by becoming the first Australian Prime Minister to use air travel for an official journey. Qantas recorded its first profit of £1,224 ($2,448).

 

The following year the service was extended a further 400km from Cloncurry to Camooweal, calling en route at Mount Isa. Captain Lester Brain flew the inaugural service on 7 February 1925. The Qantas route now stretched more than 1,300km.

 

 

"In 1926," recorded Fysh, "a building program in charge of W A Baird was commenced and the first machine produced by Qantas was turned out on the 8th August. The manufacture of this machine, a DH50A, in which Lord and Lady Stonehaven flew across Australia to Newcastle Waters, marked the first occasion on which an aircraft of similar size had been produced in Australia under licence from overseas manufacturers."

A further route extension from Cloncurry to Normanton was inaugurated on 1 July 1927 with Hudson Fysh as the pilot. That same year the first de Havilland Moth aircraft was imported by Qantas.

In March 1927 Qantas erected the first private hangar in Brisbane and opened the Brisbane Flying School that later transferred to the Queensland Aero Club.