1952 Qantas Australia-South Africa Service

In September 1952 Qantas Empire Airways (QEA) inaugurated the first regular air service between Australia and South Africa. This followed a survey flight in 1948 and a route-proving flight in July 1952.
The inaugural service was flown by Lockheed L749-79 Constellation VH-EAD Charles Kingsford Smith. The route went from Sydney to Perth then Cocos Is, Mauritius and Johannesburg.

This cover, addressed to QEA Chairman and Managing Director Hudson Fysh, was flown on the inaugural return service from Johannesburg to Sydney. It is signed by the aircraft's Captains J Connelly (Johannesburg-Perth) and K Jackson (Perth-Sydney). It is a QEA 'official' cover with violet cachets "Australia-South Africa first regular air mail Sydney September 1952" on the reverse. It was postmarked at Johannesburg 6-IX 52 and backstamped on arrival in Sydney 9SE52. The total mail carried was estimated at more than 60,000 items. The cover is numbered on the reverse 41290.



Listen to a 1952 broadcast on the occasion of the proving flight for this service, including Kingsford Smith's story of his 1928 Trans-Pacific flight.

(Phil Vabre collection)


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