Passenger flight in Australia | State Library of New South Wales

Passenger flight in Australia

The idea of passengers flying between cities in Australia was imagined in the nineteenth century, but the first paying passenger to make a flight in Australia was Melbourne businessman M.H. Baillieu, who was taken on a 19 kilometre circular journey by aviator Joseph Hammond on 2 March 1911.

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After the First World War, flight became more commonplace across Australia. Civil aviation really began in 1920, when the Commonwealth Government passed the Air Navigation Act and called for tenders from flight operators to undertake mail runs on particular routes. These first mail routes included Sydney-Brisbane, Charleville-Cloncurry and Geraldton-Derby.

Many of the airlines which later became Australia's foremost passenger airlines grew out of the companies which were awarded these first tenders. As a sideline to carrying the post, these first airlines began carrying paying customers. Australia's biggest international airline, Qantas, began this way on the Charleville-Cloncurry route.

 > Find out more about the history of Qantas airways and view a selection of printed ephemera published by Qantas in the mid twentieth century

Find out more about the history of Qantas airways

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Aviation in Australia
Made possible through a partnership with QANTAS