A 787 called Quokka could continue a long Qantas tradition

Quokkas are a small marsupial, found on some small islands off the coast of Western Australia. Related to the kangaroo and Wallaby, the cat sized Quokka was voted the “world’s happiest animal“. Now this animal’s name may grace the side of a Qantas plane.

Earlier this month, Qantas Airways called on Australians to suggest names which reflect “the true spirit of Australia” for its first eight Boeing 787 Dreamliners

They got 10,000 entries with 40,000 names! Just  20 names were shortlisted:

  1. Boomerang, an aboriginal hunting weapon
  2. Cooee: a shout used in Australia, usually in forest areas to attract attention. As noted above, a Qantas flying boat from 1938 to 1942 was called Cooee
  3. Don Bradman: famous Australian cricketer
  4. Dreamtime: the Aboriginal understanding of creation
  5. Evonne Goolagong: leading Australian tennis player
  6. Fred Hollows: famous Australian who set up a charity that helps restore sight to millions
  7. Great Barrier Reef
  8. Great Ocean Road
  9. Great Southern Land: a name for Australia
  10. Jillaroo: a female cattle hand
  11. Jumbuck: an Australian term for sheep
  12. Joan Sutherland: an Australian opera singer
  13. Kokoda: the site of a battle fought by Australians in World War II.
  14. Kookaburra: an Australian bird
  15. Quokka: which is one of my favourites
  16. Skippy: a nickname for kangaroo and a very popular Australian TV show about a kangaroo
  17. True Blue: a loyal and true Australian
  18. Uluru: the Spiritual heart of Australia
  19. Vegemite -the famous Australian spread
  20. Waltzing Matilda- Australia’s unofficial anthem

These 20 have just been voted on by the Australian public with the results for the eight 787s to be announced later this month.

Rejected Names:

The nominators rejected names such as:

  • Chiko roll- an Australian fried savoury food)
  • Iced Vo-Vo – an Australian cookie
  • Ned Kelly – outlaw
  • Sausage Sizzle – Australian fundraising tradition
  •  Yeah-Nah

Qantas Plane Names- a long tradition.

Naming planes is a tradition I like. Qantas have named planes since the 1920s. Back then, Qantas’s de Havilland DH.6, 50 and 61 aeroplanes were named after figures from Greek mythology. For example: Atalanta, Hermes and Iris.

Their flying boats of the 1930s all had Australian coastal names including Carpentaria, Cooee, and Coogee.

The 1950s saw their Lockheed L-1049: Super Constellation carrying  “Southern” themes. For example Southern Aurora,

The tradition continued into the jet age with their first Boeing 707s, the 138 series which carried the names of Australian state capitals to the world such as Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.

The next lot of  707s, the 338 series which arrived in the early 1970s went with the names of Regional Australian cities.

Enter the 1970s and the Australian city names continued on the Boeing 747s that proudly carried the Qantas logo. Having travelled a quarter of a million miles on forty-two Qantas 747 flights, I have twice sampled VH-OJC named “Melbourne” after my home city and VH-OJA “Canberra”.VH-OJA holds the record as the first and only passenger aircraft to fly from London to Sydney non-stop is now parked at the Hars Aviation Museum in Wollongong. I walked through it and sat in the seats I had sat in when I flew her to Los Angeles. Upstairs in the small cabin. Beautiful place to sit on a 747.

Qantas 767s also carried the names of Australian cities. I flew the 767 named BYRON BAY,(VH-OGU),  the most.

The Boeing 737-300s that were flown by TAA (which merged with Qantas in 1993) had Inspirational names such as Advance, Adventure, Boldness, Challenge and Enterprise. The 737-400s in the 1990s were named after Australian Birds, for example, Kingfisher which I flew once.

Qantas A330-200s are named after Australian valleys. Qantas Airbus A330-300s were named after regional centres including Margaret River,  Esperance and Cable Beach, all of which I have flown on twice!

The big beasts, the Airbus A380s were very fittingly named after Australian Aviation Pioneers such as Nancy-Bird Walton – the first woman to fly a commercial aviation service, plus Airbus 380 Qantas Airways Hudson Fysh and VH-OQF Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, all of which I have flown.

The Boeing 737-800 are named after Australian Towns. I have flown VH-VXS: St Helens four times so far!

Sadly the 717s inherited from Qantas takeover of Impulse airlines have no names on their sides.

Personally, my preference would have been to move to an aboriginal theme for the 787s. Qantas has only had a couple of planes named thus. I think Aboriginal leaders, places and traditions  would have sent a powerful signal about Australia. I can live with a plane called Quokka!

I guess I can live with a plane called Quokka!

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