Road to 100

Over 200 former Qantas employees dinned at the Qantas Museum as part of the airlines 100th Centenary celebrations. Photo: Kate Kiernan.

THE Central West was a buzz last month with Qantas officials and ex-workers travelling from across Australia to celebrate the centenary year.

Guests were encouraged to wear a touch of red as they dined under the 747’s wing.

There were food stations that represented the cultural food from around the world.

One of the co-founders of Red Tail, Rafael Toda said the night was the most emotional and the most charged experience and that they looked forward to this event for two years.

“The Red Tail initiative started in 2015, and us, the four founders, got together to discuss and get as many Qantas people as possible from around the world reunited together,” he said.

“We wanted to give a platform to be able to rekindle the friendship that we had many years ago.

“Red Tail is all about the Qantas spirit in us no matter how long ago we left.

“We have to give thanks to the museum for everything they have put on today, and the town of Longreach and Winton and how they welcomed us.

“I have to thank the co-founders, Brian Wild, Jim Eames, and Max Hill who shared my vision and helped make this all happen, and it moves the boundaries from just Australia to the international market,” said Mr Toda.

Betsy (Elizabeth) Fysh wife to her late husband Frith Fysh who was related to two of Qantas’’s founders Hudson Fysh (Frith’’s uncle) and Fergus McMaster (Frith’’s grandfather) returned to Longreach in attendance of the Red Tail reunion event.

Elizabeth and Frith moved to Longreach, home of Qantas’’s first headquarters, where they were involved in the establishment of the Qantas Founders Museum.

“It’s fabulous to be back here today, I always love coming back to Longreach but to be here for this event is really special it’’s equal to any other Qantas event I have ever attended,” said Ms Fysh.

“It’s so special to be here where it was founded as it is quite a sentimental occasion for a lot of people there tonight.

“Qantas seems to engender a culture of loyalty and affection, and there is a demonstration of that tonight,” said Ms Fysh.

CEO of Qantas Alan Joyce said it was incredible to be able to celebrate the centenary with over 200 former Qantas staff.

“There have been a lot of highlights from being in Winton and seeing the first boardroom and having the kids in the Winton school giving us ideas about the future of Qantas and also having the kids in Longreach sing us ‘I still call Australia home’’ in the 1922 hangar,” said Mr Joyce.

“Seeing all our employees with the passion they have for the company and seeing that history portrayed on a 747 with the most amazing light show,” he said.

“We have been working with the Red Tail group for some time, and they have been passionate about trying to make sure we can celebrate 100 years.”

Alan Joyce said one of his favourite planes in the Qantas fleet is the 747.

“I came to Australia on my first trip on Qantas on a 747, in the early 90s, most people say that the first memory of feeling at home and feeling like they are in Australia is getting on a Qantas aircraft,” he said.

“Qantas is so happy to be part of the history of Western Queensland, I know everybody debates where was it born, where it grew up but Western Queensland, that is where it came from and we are proud of that,” said Mr Joyce.

The Red Tail initiative plans to host another centenary celebration in Sydney later this year.