2006, 3 x 55 Minutes.
Australia's aviation history is a saga of daring feats, can-do attitude, pig-headed visionaries, iron-fisted politicians and warring pilots; of humble beginnings and mega deals. The story begins in World War One with the bold young airmen who would later establish Australia's first airlines, in difficult conditions, marred by accidents and fatalities, but highlighted by ground-breaking flights. Behind the scenes, however, battles were fought in boardrooms and with backers and bureaucrats to keep the airlines aloft. Then businessmen replaced aviators at the helm of the companies, and take-overs rather than take-offs became front-page news.
Canvas & Sticks
The cauldron of World War One’s rough and ready Air Forces breed a range of gung-ho flyers, so keen to stay in the air that they start a new battle—to launch Australia's first domestic airlines.
The 1930s bring growing maturity to aviation as the first international airlines burst onto the scene conquering distance and introducing new luxury flying. The once struggling Qantas offers its Great Flying Boats for trips to Singapore and then London, including a full dinner service, your own bed and golf putting in the hall; all at 10,000 feet. But it won't last. When World War Two arrives, aviation reveals its darker side. The bombing of Darwin brings war directly to Australian soil and the honeymoon and adventuring era for Aussie flyers is over. The war will change everything.
War in Suits
By 1945 the huge logistics of war leave behind a local industry that has grown with the times. The airline industry is now big business. The personalities in charge are different too. No more are they the flying adventurers of yesteryear, but boardroom bigwigs with political skills for a changing future. The country adopts the famous two-airline policy combining both private and government airlines to ensure stability and service. It's the perfect breeding ground for Ansett Airlines, led by dynamic flyer and businessman, Reg Ansett.
A Film Australia National Interest Program in association with Vue DC. Produced with the assistance of ScreenWest, Lotterywest and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, Screenwest.
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Writer/Director: Alan Lindsay
Total Running Time: 165 mins
Classification: PG. Consumer advice: mild themes, mild violence, infrequent mild coarse language.
Curriculum Links: Australian History, Studies of Society and Environment, Science & Technology, English, Media and Business Studies.
Australian Biography: Nancy Bird Walton