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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

9 October 2006

Historic 707 still calls Australia home

Australia’s first jet plane – a 1959 Boeing 707 and the oldest in existence – will return home next month to become part of the nation’s aviation history, following a grant of one million dollars from the Australian Government, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and Qantas Chairman Margaret Jackson announced today in Sydney.

“This aircraft is a significant part of our national identity,” Senator Campbell said. “Its arrival in Sydney on 20 July 1959 changed the way Australians thought about their relationship to the world.

“The jet symbolises that monumental change in thinking because for the first time everyone had an affordable and fast way to travel overseas by air. The 707s reduced the Sydney-London trip from 48 to 27 hours, and crossing time for the Pacific from 28 to 16 hours.

“Not only did this important jet plane broaden Australians’ horizons, it brought many migrants from the United Kingdom and Europe to their new homeland.”

The recovery of the historic aircraft from the United Kingdom is a vision of the Australian Government and the Qantas Foundation Memorial, a non-profit organisation aimed at ensuring the conservation of Australia’s aviation history.

The aircraft was the first jet owned by Qantas and was designed and built to Qantas specifications. It was also the first jet registered in Australia and the first US commercial turbojet to be sold outside the USA.

“Although the jet hasn’t flown for over six years it is in excellent condition and is now being restored to flightworthiness for the return journey home,” Senator Campbell said. “Its final destination is the Qantas Founders Outback Museum in Longreach, Queensland, the birthplace of Qantas.

“From the pioneering brothers Ross and Keith Smith – the first to fly from England to Australia in 1919 – to Kingsford-Smith and Ulm’s ground-breaking circumnavigation of the globe in 1929, Australia has been at the forefront of achievements in aviation.

“I look forward to welcoming this important part of our nation’s heritage when the 707 comes home next month.”

Australian Government support will assist restoration of the plane for flightworthiness, construction of a concrete pad and equipment to secure the aircraft in its display hanger at Longreach.

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Sp beta footage of the Minister inspecting the historic Boeing 707 in London is available.

Media Contact:
Rob Broadfield 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902

Commonwealth of Australia