John Willmott Potts joined the catering section Qantas in 1964 and served in a number of postings in Mauritius, Papua New Guinea and the Cocos Islands. In 1974 he was posted in Darwin when cyclone Tracy hit and after this he returned to Sydney and completed his Flight Steward training. He retired from Qantas in 1988 and moved to Young where he settled down to life on an alpaca farm.
Around this time be began collecting Qantas memorabilia and making a series of historic Qantas costumes for Barbie dolls. John’s desire to make authentic replicas meant many hours of research as the uniforms were crafted from original patterns which a friend miniaturised to enable John scale them to fit the Barbie and Ken dolls. He even called on his connections with the company to source original cloth for the dolls and keep up with new designs.
By 2009 John had hand stitched 42 uniforms with each doll representing a different Qantas uniform design from 1948-2009. They were originally used as part of a travelling display entitled ‘Stiches in Time’; a talk on the history of Qantas which John delivered to schools, museums and libraries in rural New South Wales.
Unfortunately John passed away while the museum was negotiating the acquisition of his collection but his collection remains a memorial to his passion for this iconic Australian company and its history.