Regional Intern – Tom Harwood, Curator of the Qantas Founders Museum.

Regional Services intern Tom Harwood -Curator at the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach in Queensland, Image: Michael Myers, Powerhouse Museum
Regional Services inter n Tom Harwood -Curator at the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach in Queensland, Image: Michael Myers.

Recently, I spent a week as a guest at the Powerhouse Museum as part of a mentorship through Museum and Gallery Services Queensland. I was asked to write about an item I discovered while I was there but it’s been a difficult choice.

Being an older bloke who remembers some of what was said about the Leyland P-76 when it was new, I was stunned to find that anybody (Castle Hill Discovery Centre) actually put one on a pedestal!

Leyland P76, Powerhouse Museum Collection, 92/301
Leyland P76, on display in the Powerhouse Museum, Powerhouse Museum Collection, 92/301

Less exalted but interesting is the undercarriage leg – the only part ever found – from the ‘Lady Southern Cross’ in which Sir Charles Kingsford Smith died in 1935.

Aircraft undercarriage from the 'Lady Southern Cross', Powerhouse Museum Collection, 94/64/1 Image: Sue Stafford. Powerhouse Museum
Aircraft undercarriage from the ‘Lady Southern Cross’, 94/64/1 Image :Sue Stafford,Powerhouse Museum

It was fascinating to learn that Gordon Taylor’s Catalina doesn’t just hang from the Powerhouse roof – but helps hold the roof down.

Catalina flying boat 'Frigate Bird II', Powerhouse Museum collection, B1495. Photo credit: Geoff Friend.
Catalina flying boat ‘Frigate Bird II’, B1495. Image: Geoff Friend, Powerhouse Museum

The Discovery Centre storage area has an amazing collection of aero engines and aircraft models.But, sitting quietly is Genairco Biplane in storage at Powerhouse Discovery Centre, Castle Hill. Powerhouse Museum Collection, 2007/143/1.  Photo credit: Margaret Simpson

Genairco Biplane in storage at Powerhouse Discovery Centre, Castle Hill. 2007/143/1. Image: Margaret Simpson

Few Australian designed aircraft have gone into production and even fewer have had a lengthy production run. The General Aircraft Company, formed at Bankstown in the late 1920s, produced 10 (or 11, depending on which history you believe) Genairco aircraft with wings based on the Avro Avian and a fuselage similar to but wider than de Havilland’s DH-60 Moth.

Aircraft model, DH 60 Gipsy Moth  made by Iain Scott Stevenson, Powerhouse Museum Collection. 88/97.
Aircraft model, DH 60 Gipsy Moth made by Iain Scott Stevenson, 88/97, Powerhouse Museum

This one is particularly special because it achieved notoriety as ‘Qantas Founders Museum
Longreach, Queensland

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