Don’t Miss This! The Plane in the Paddock, Longreach QLD

Last Updated on November 17, 2017 by Red Nomad OZ

Well OK, it’s not actually a ‘paddock’ as such.

And it’s certainly NOT just a plane!

It’s a fully operational Qantas 747 Jumbo Jet (aka 747-200 VH-EBQ for those who care about such things!), the centrepiece of the Qantas Founders Museum – today celebrating 90 years of Qantas.

It’s parked on a fenced off section of of the Longreach Airport grounds, right next to the car park. And when I say ‘right next to’, you can take that to the bank!

Longreach, in outback Queensland, is one of several towns with claims to be the birthplace of Qantas, (an acronym for ‘Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service’) along with Cloncurry (site of inital planning and inaugural flight destination), Charleville (inaugural mail run flight) and Winton (first board meeting). The small town of Tambo has a lesser claim as site of a fatal Qantas mail run crash.

As the original Qantas HQ, Longreach has the museum with enough oomph to support its claim. This still-operational jet – ‘The City of Bunbury’ – can be toured, and is therefore a magnet for aircraft obsessives! Don’t let that put you off though – in July 2009, for a bargain $19 each, we easily found enough of interest in the many and varied exhibits (including several aircraft) to spend several hours in the museum.
But if you’re a REAL die-hard, you’ll probably tack on one or more of the tours that take you inside the prize exhibits – or on them, if you choose the ‘wing walk’ tour – the ultimate fantasy ‘must do’ for aircraft-obsessives!
A few days in Longreach, and the 747 looming high above the cars, caravans and coaches in the car park becomes part of the landscape. But take an evening stroll and stand under the tail, as I did, or under a wing or engine to really appreciate its awesome size in these incongruous surrounds.

Only just long enough to land the jet, the Longreach airstrip isn’t long enough to fly it out.

SO … the plane in the paddock is here to stay!

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  1. @River – Yep, this is WAAAAY bigger than any plane I’ve ever seen in a paddock! But the remote controlled planes sound like an interesting substitute – and a happy memory! Thanx for sharing it!!
    @Kath – C’mon! Where’s your sense of adventure?!

  2. I’d love a wing walk tour!
    I remember planes in a field, but not like this. When I was just a little kid in Port Pirie Dad took us all to an airfield just outside of the town limits where people flew their remote controlled planes and helicopters. They were attached by lines to the control units, so not fully remote as they are these days and we only went the once so that’s all I remember.

  3. @Jayne – Haha! A lot more reliable … AND scary!!
    @GR – Wow, I didn’t know that! And wouldn’t be surprised if the red dust was also a problem at Longreach … nice to see you back!!
    @~Cheryl – Yes, my mate & I contented ourselves with watching OTHER people on the wing walk! It’s pretty big though, and you’re harnessed to the plane, so physical danger is minimal, psychological not so!!
    @LV – Even better to see it in the flesh!
    @BWCABrownie – Yep, probably read that but my photographic brain failed to memorize it!! Thanx for visiting!!

  4. THANKS for sharing Nomad.

    The first commercial jet flights to AUS from LON only got as far as Longreach before needing a refuel. Accommodation had to be built for the passengers and thus, QANTAS created ‘vertical integration’ of travel services. You probably read that in the museum.

  5. A wing walk tour really intrigues me; however, I can feel my knees shaking just thinking about it. On the other hand, the wing would have to be so enormous it must be a leisurely stroll. 🙂 Thank you for visiting my Challenge Blog!

  6. Just to add to the legend . . . VH-EBQ was the plane which flew the Bali victims out of Indonesia . . . and when it landed, not only was the strip theoretically too short, it was also too narrow and the plane had to land on only the two inner engines, as the outer engines would have blown up the red dust from the edges of the strip into the engines.

  7. HI great blog you have here!
    Thanks for sharing it.
    tried to send you an E-mail but I don’t have out look express 🙁

    Happy Travels

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