four people standing in front of a plane next to an ambulance, image is in black and white indicating it is from a long time ago

Qantas is set to celebrate 100 years since the first mail flight

Date published

10 Oct 2022
four people standing in front of a plane next to an ambulance, image is in black and white indicating it is from a long time ago

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) celebrates its proud history with Qantas, as the commercial airline celebrates 100 years of passenger flying. 

On 2 November, Qantas will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first regular passenger air service between Cloncurry and Charleville. 

Alexander Kennedy, an 84-year-old outback pioneer, was the first passenger back in 1922, who flew the Longreach-Winton-McKinlay-Cloncurry leg of the inaugural mail service.

On Sunday 30 October, the historic milestone will be brought to life at the Charleville airport through an interactive centenary celebration where guests can engage with historic memorabilia, competitions, activities, and auctions.

The Flying Doctor has a longstanding history with Qantas - having chartered the first ever RFDS flight in 1928 between Cloncurry and Julia Creek.

In the first year alone, 225 emergency aeromedical retrievals took place, inspiring a dedication to providing critical health services to the furthest corners. 

Speaking of the milestone for Qantas, RFDS Charleville Base Support Manager, Liane Spencer, said it was as a reminder of the invaluable support Qantas had provided to the RFDS over its history.

“It’s incredible to think it’s been 100 years since the first ever mail flight from Qantas, as without them, the RFDS wouldn’t be what it is today,” Ms Spencer said. 

“A century on and we are more dedicated than ever to provide leading emergency aeromedical retrieval and health care services to rural and remote communities across Queensland, and we continue to be supported by Qantas along the way.”

As part of Qantas’ 100 year celebration, the RFDS pilot simulator will be open to the public to experience a flight with the Flying Doctor. The event is set to bring the community together to celebrate a nation where all Australians have access to emergency healthcare - no matter their location.

“We are incredibly excited to celebrate 100 years since Qantas’ first mail flight and look forward to seeing members of the community experience the true essence of the Flying Doctor with exclusive historic memorabilia and a unique look at our history,” Ms Spencer said.