Last year, Qantas turned 100 years old. With a global pandemic shutting down much of the airline and even many internal state borders within Australia closed, last year’s celebrations didn’t exactly go to plan. But the airline – and the Qantas Founders Museum – are trying to make up for it this year in what would be the 100th year of Qantas’ operations.
The excellent Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach, the town in outback Queensland where Qantas began its operations in the 1920s, is planning a series of special events this year to celebrate the airline’s centenary year. This week, it also revealed an exciting new addition to the museum’s already extensive collection of Qantas history and memorabilia.
Qantas has gifted a replica of the Captain Cook Lounge, which was originally built to film last year’s Qantas centenary safety video, to the Qantas Founders Museum.
The Captain Cook Lounge was originally built on the upper deck of Qantas’ Boeing 747-200s in the 1970s. The nautical-themed lounge had space for 15 First Class passengers. It was an exclusive area to socialise, enjoy a cocktail from the bar, or even smoke.
The Captain Cook Lounges were decommissioned in 1979, when Qantas replaced the space on the upper deck of its early 747s with Business Class seats.
Qantas donated profits from its 747 retirement joy flights in July 2020 to help cover the costs of installing the new exhibition in Longreach. The entire Qantas board also travelled to Longreach this week for the launch of the new exhibit.
“We are excited to be able to showcase this new exhibit within the Museum which will be able to take aviation and travel enthusiasts on a walk down memory lane for generations to come,” Qantas Founders Museum CEO Tony Martin said.
If you’d like to learn more about the Qantas Founders Museum, Tony Martin was a guest last year on Episode 42 of the AFF on Air podcast.
While they were in outback Queensland this week, the Qantas board also visited the Winton Club in the nearby outback town of Winton. This is where the first Qantas board meeting was held on 10 February 1921.
New Qantas centenary gin
Qantas also announced this week that it has teamed up with Four Pillars to create a unique gin called “QF100”.
The limited-edition Qantas Centenary Four Pillars gin contains native Australian flavours including lemongrass, macadamia and lemon myrtle sourced from outback Queensland.
“For 100 years Qantas has connected Australians with the world, shaping the country we live in today. We were absolutely thrilled to be able to celebrate the centenary of the flying kangaroo with a truly unique, very Australian gin,” Four Pillars co-founder Cameron Mackenzie said.
“Almost every grass, leaf, berry, or fruit in this region has a use within the indigenous culture and has done for thousands of years. When we visited [Longreach] last year, native lemongrass was plentiful, and it has become the heart and soul of this gin.”
The gin is on sale for $90 per bottle from Qantas Wine. If you’re flying to New Zealand in the near future, you might also get a chance to try it in the lounge. Over the coming months, the gin will be available in the Qantas international lounges in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and in all domestic Chairman’s Lounges, in a new signature cocktail called “Longreach Fizz”.
Qantas also recently launched a centenary beer in partnership with James Squire.