Tourism has been the basis of the far north Queensland economy for so long it’s hard to imagine how we managed without it.
These days, most of our visitors arrive by air. Our tourism industry owes its existence to aeroplanes and the people who pioneered aviation in FNQ. Their story is eloquently told in a recent addition to the Cairns Airport domestic terminal – the Aviation Pioneers display.
It looks back to the days when the airport site was a mangrove swamp, and to its earliest use as a landing ground. It tells the stories of the people, the companies and the aircraft that made safe air travel in FNQ possible.
Listen to Kevin Brown – Chief Executive of North Queensland Airports talk about the Pioneers Display.
One of FNQ’s pioneering aviation companies was Bush Pilots Airways, founded by the late Sir Robert Norman in 1951. Bushies grew from a small operation to be a significant airline that pioneered new approaches to tourism in the region.
Bushies closed down in 1987, but its former staff are still in regular contact a quarter of a century later. They’re gathering in Cairns tomorrow for a re-union at which tall tales and true will be told.
Listen to former Bushies pilot Lyle Cook talk about his time flying with BPA.
Listen to former Bushies jack-of-all-trades Lionel Dyer talk about the airline and the reunion.