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Record Image

Registration Number: H3077

Name or Title: Mailbag

Classification: CH classification COMMUNICATION Postal mailbag
CH classification CIVIC MEMENTOES Souvenirs Commemorative
CH classification TRANSPORT Aviation
CH classification CIVIC MEMENTOES Souvenirs

Brief Description: Rectangular white canvas bag with red strip of material in centre. Writing stencilled on the front. 4 metal hooks attached to opening of bag. Material is stained and blackened in places.

Collection: Social History

Production Date: Circa 1931

Materials: Canvas, steel.

Measurement : L895 x W745 mm

Signature/Marks: P.M.G. \ AIR MAIL \ No 1 \ BRIS BANE \ TO \ LON DON \ FIRST FLIGHT \ 25 4 31

History and Use: This mail bag was used by QANTAS to transport mail on the very first airmail service between Australia and England in 1931.

QANTAS (Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services) was established by W. Hudson Fysh, Paul McGinness, Fergus McMaster and W. Arthur Baird in Queensland. The papers formally establishing the company were signed at the Gresham Hotel, on the corner of Adelaide and Creek Streets, Brisbane on 16 November 1920.

First based in Winton and then later Longreach, the airline’s inaugural scheduled passenger flight took place on the 2 November 1922 with a single passenger on the Charleville to Cloncurry mail service. Throughout the 1920s QANTAS expanded its route network to include Camooweal, Mount Isa, Normanton and Brisbane.

In 1931 QANTAS carried the first airmail as part of an experimental Australia to England run. Captain Russell Tapp flew from Brisbane to Darwin, arriving on 25 April 1931. Charles Kingsford-Smith then continued the journey in his plane the Southern Cross from Darwin to Burma (Myanmar) where he connected with Britain’s Imperial Airways to take the 25,000 letters on to England.

This improvement in the transport of mail was a long way from Queensland’s early postal services by horseback and Cobb and Co coach around the state, and by ship from overseas. Early air mail delivery reduced the 32 day sea journey for mail between Australia and England down to 13 days.

Uploaded to the Web 27 May 2011.

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