The Move to Brisbane

Experimental airmail flight, 1931

On 17 April 1929, Qantas brought two new DH61 aircraft into service to inaugurate the 710km Charleville-Brisbane service, the first direct link to the coast. This brought the total route network to nearly 2380km.

The airline moved its headquarters to Brisbane. For Hudson Fysh it was a momentous occasion, tinged with nostalgia, "It was on 22 June 1930 that I got my family aboard our DH61 at Longreach and we said a rather sad farewell to the town, the scene of over nine years' struggle to establish our young company." Qantas had just completed its first one million miles (1,600,000km) and had carried 10,400 passengers.

"It will be seen," commented Fysh, "that the progress of Qantas has been comparatively back to front, extending gradually from the outback posts of Queensland and emerging into the capital city 10 years after the Company was formed."

First regular airmail service, 1934

Qantas established its first link with Britain's Imperial Airways in 1931 when it carried the first airmail from Brisbane to Darwin as part of an experimental Australia-England run. Captain Russell Tapp flew the mail in the DH61 'Apollo', arriving in Darwin on 25 April 1931. The mail, some 25,000 letters, was carried on by Charles Kingsford Smith in the 'Southern Cross' to Akyab in Burma, where he connected with Imperial Airways.

On 18 January 1934 Qantas Empire Airways Limited was registered in Brisbane, effectively combining the interests of Imperial Airways and Qantas which each held a half share. Hudson Fysh was appointed Managing Director.

The airline won more airmail contracts. On 10 December 1934 Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester, cut a red ribbon to send DH61 'Diana', flown by Captain Lester Brain, and DH50 'Hippomenes', commanded by Captain Russell Tapp, on the inaugural mail service from Brisbane to Darwin. At Darwin the 55,967 items of mail were transferred to two Imperial Airways aircraft bound for England via Singapore.