REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: Queensland legend just keeps growing

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At the centenary of Qantas at Longreach were Qantas Founders Museum CEO Tony Martin, and director and great nephew of Hudson Fysh, local grazier David Fysh. The heritage listed hangar in the background is where company aeroplanes were made and repaired in the airline's early days.

At the centenary of Qantas at Longreach were Qantas Founders Museum CEO Tony Martin, and director and great nephew of Hudson Fysh, local grazier David Fysh. The heritage listed hangar in the background is where company aeroplanes were made and repaired in the airline's early days.

I'm sure no-one would begrudge me a little shout of "Queenslander!" after this week.

I know, I know, your thoughts immediately went to the Brisbane boilover in the fittingly nicknamed Cauldron - the Maroons' State of Origin win in the decider at Lang Park on Wednesday night.

From the moment southern commentators dubbed Queensland's team as the worst ever assembled in 40 years of Origin history, a Maroon win was a certainty.

It's the sort of comment that gave birth to the State of Origin concept in the first place, when after a decade of being denied an opportunity to pull on the jumper of his home state, Arthur Beetson led the Queenslanders to a 20-10 upset in the first game played under the new format.

"The way he ran out, his knees were giving him grief, he was playing on courage that night and that's what playing for Queensland is all about," legendary coach Wayne Bennett was this week quoted as saying.

And that's the sort of spirit that fostered another Queensland venture that's become a national icon.

When Qantas celebrated 100 years in business on Monday, it was as much a tribute to the foresight and ingenuity of its founders as anything.

One of Queensland's proudest creations, the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service was born from the spirit that inspired our Anzac legend.

Conceived by Paul McGuinness and Hudson Fysh, each Light Horsemen who survived the Gallipoli campaign before going on to serve with honour in the fledgling Australian Flying Corps, they saw the value of air travel as a means of transport that could connect the remote outback with the rest of the world.

With the help of another war veteran and well-connected grazier Fergus McMaster and their WWI flight sergeant and mechanic-extraordinaire Arthur Baird, they brought the commercial entity into being from the frontier towns of Cloncurry, Winton and Longreach, filled with people with big dreams and places to go.

Despite the Great Depression and World War II, when half its aircraft were taken over by the military, the airline kept growing and according to the federal MP for the western Queensland region that keeps the Qantas legend burning, David Littleproud, it was because of the spirit embedded in the people.

"If Qantas ever loses its compass, it should turn to its roots here," he told a commemorative dinner in Longreach this week.

(And just in case I haven't emphasised enough how proud we are of our Queensland legends, check out this story of how one outback mayor renamed his town 'Kurtsville' for a day, in honour of homegrown rugby league star, Kurt Capewell!)

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