First Regular Air Mail England to Australia - 1934

This is a Christmas card sent to the CAB's CCA Edgar Johnston by A E Rudder, the Imperial Airways-appointed Director on the Board of Qantas Empire Airways (QEA). Click here to see an enlarged view of the illustration.

This card was flown from England to Australia on the first regular England-Australia air mail service. The CAB was heavily involved in the negotiations and tendering process prior to the inauguration of this service in its capacity as distributor of government subsidies and provider of the ground organisation (aerodromes, aeradio, etc.).


The inside of the card. Original size 24.5 cm x 16.5 cm.

(CAHS/Edgar Johnston collection)

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The inaugural service departed London's Croydon Airport on 8 December 1934 via Imperial Airways. At Darwin, the mail was transferred to QEA for onwards carriage to Brisbane. Mails for Perth, Sydney and Melbourne were picked up by branch services operated by other airlines. Mails arrived in Sydney on 21 December 1934 (17 days en route).

The original plan was for QEA to operate the section of the route from Brisbane to Singapore however due to airworthiness problems with QEA's new DH.86s, Imperial Airways operated to Darwin until 25 January 1935. Even then, the CAB did not permit QEA to carry passengers for the first three months.

Click here to see photos of the inaugural Australia to England service.