The first Qantas baby

Published on 25th May 2016 at 11:25

A three month old Rosemary with her mother Joyce and older brother Edwin after landing in Brisbane – 80 years ago

Along with more than 11 million other people, Rosemary Unwin is a Qantas Frequent Flyer but she began her association with Qantas a little earlier than most.

Exactly 80 years ago today, on 25 May 1936, Rosemary, her older brother Edwin and their mother Joyce Richardson boarded a Qantas Empire Airways DH86 biplane  flown by chief pilot Lester Brain for the flight to Brisbane from the small regional Queensland town of Blackall.

At just under three months of age, Rosemary was the youngest ever Qantas passenger at the time. The family was greeted by a photographer from the Courier-Mail newspaper when they landed at Archerfield and made the ‘PhotoNews’ page the next day.


Rosemary visiting the Qantas Heritage Collection at Sydney Airport

Not that Rosemary remembers much about that very first trip as her mother told a reporter that she slept all the way. Over the years Rosemary kept up her “life-long love affair with travel”, prompting her hairdresser to remark that she flew Qantas “the way other people caught a bus”.

Rosemary still lives in Queensland and her most recent international trip was a flight to London via Dubai in 2014. She is planning a trip to Hong Kong later this year to add to the “…wonderful experiences and travel highlights in my life and Qantas has been a part of many of these”.

Rosemary visited the Qantas Heritage Collection at Sydney Airport recently to relive her own part in our history. At 80 years of age, Rosemary has the honour of being the first baby to have ever flown on a Qantas plane.