QEA First Round-the-World Service - 1958

This magnificent photo shows Qantas Empire Airways Lockheed L1049G Super Constellation VH-EAO Southern Aurora outside the International Terminal at Melbourne/Essendon in January 1958 in readiness for the inauguration of QEA's Round-the-World service. Along the fuselage, the aircraft carries the names of all the stops en route: Nadi; Honolulu; San Francisco; New York; London; Rome; Athens; Karachi; New Delhi; Bangkok; Singapore; Djakarta; Perth; Melbourne; Sydney.

Essendon's rather basic 'International Terminal' was the former Aero Club building (the Royal Victorian Aero Club had moved to the new Moorabbin aerodrome). Outside the Terminal can just be made out the national flags of the en route stops, set out in readiness for the farewell ceremony. On 14 January the Premier of Victoria, (Sir) Henry Bolte cut a ribbon attached to the westbound Southern Zephyr while the wife of the Minister for Civil Aviation, Mrs Paltridge, did the same for the eastbound Southern Aurora. The two aircraft were timed to arrive in London within a few hours of each other, and then complete the round-the-world circuit. The total flying time was about 128 hours.

QEA Constellation sticker

Click here to see some air mail covers carried aboard Southern Aurora on this flight

Click here to see another photo and history of the Southern Aurora

(Photo: John Hopton/The Collection p4600-1186; Sticker-Phil Vabre collection)

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