Royal Queensland Aero Club Centenary Dinner
Air Commodore John Meier; QANTAS Chief Pilot, Captain Richard Tobiano; our President, Mr Clif Hefner; members; ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honour for me to join you all for this historic centenary dinner of the Royal Queensland Aero Club.
On the 26th of September 1919, a meeting took place in central Brisbane between those interested in the creation of an authoritative body to represent the interests of the State’s growing flying community.
Many who were present had flown with the Australian Flying Corps during the Great War, a war which forced the temporary disbanding of the first iteration of this Club born in 1910.
Those first members were driven in the re-formation of the Queensland Aero Club as much by a sense of duty as a love of flying – a characteristic which continues to define so many in this Club.
And though accomplished, not even those founding members could have predicted the central role our State would play over the ensuring century in some of Australia’s, and indeed the world’s, greatest aviation feats.
So many involved in these feats – from Hinkler, Kingsford Smith and pioneering aviatrixes like ‘Lores’ Bonney – are intrinsically linked to this Club… a Club which counts as past Patrons many former Queensland Governors, too.
With the opening of the Archerfield Airport in 1931, the Club saw an opportunity to expand its footprint, acquiring over the next few decades a permanent clubhouse and additional Hangars.
How appropriate that we gather tonight in Hangar Number 5, purchased by the Club in 1951 and from where QANTAS had earlier launched its commercial operations in Brisbane.
I must mention, by the way, how memorable it was to officially open the refurbished Hangar Number One, back in 2015.
In more recent times, countless pilots gained their wings through the Club, launching them into successful careers with major airlines around the world.
And though it has passed through ‘air pockets’ from time to time, the Club and its members have never let go of their proud history – nor the Royal Prefix, granted in 1935 and which continues to elevate this richly vibrant Queensland institution.
What a remarkable journey of tenacity, passion and dedication it has been for you all.
As current Patron and Governor, I thank the members of the Committee – some whose service stretches back many decades – and staff for organising tonight’s special event.
I thank all members and supporters. How wonderful to see this Club flourish once again, and to see firsthand the comradery and enjoyment you derive from being amongst like-minded company.
On that uplifting note, it is a great honour tonight to recognise the Royal Queensland Aero Club’s prominent role in Queensland’s historical development – may it continue for at least a century more! Thank you.