Flying Kangaroo: Great untold stories of QANTAS
By Jim Eames
Published by Allen & Unwin
RRP $29.99 in paperback
This book is a departure from the usual fare of serious military history books that I write about for this blog.
QANTAS, of course, has played a pivotal role in the development of Australia and in lessening the tyranny of distance, a phrase added to the Australian lexicon by Geoffrey Blainey.
Author Jim Eames is well placed to write such a book, having been a press secretary to the Minister for Aviation and a former Director of Public Affairs for Qantas. He has lived and breathed aviation and has an insider’s knowledge of the airline. His insights make for an entertaining read.
It isn’t just a book of anecdotes although there are many of those. Stories that come to mind include the successful effort to smuggle Lady Diana Spencer out of Australia back to England immediately prior to her engagement to Prince Charles. The subterfuge needed to avoid press attention was worthy of a spy thriller.
Stories of Gough Whitlam as a VIP passenger bring a smile as does the story of how the famous line ‘QANTAS never crashes’ made it into the film Rain Man.
There are also stories of some of the great characters of the early days of QANTAS, the like of which we won’t see again in the modern corporate world of aviation.
Most of all, Eames tell a great yarn. I think this is great summer reading.
If you’re an aviation buff, you’ll probably think the same.