More than 100 people on the ground at the HARS Aviation Museum waved and cheered to almost 200 in the air when a Qantas 787 flew low over Shellharbour Airport just before dusk on Monday to commemorate Qantas Airways' 100th anniversary.
Those gathered at a black-tie dinner at HARS were only part of the celebrations. The Dreamliner flown by Captain Lisa Norman also swooped Sydney Harbour Bridge which was lit up as a birthday cake complete with illuminated candles.
Destination NSW had organised more than 1300 LED tubes, 126 LED fixtures and 38 searchlights on the iconic bridge along with 60 historic images and two, 65-metre-high birthday candles projected onto the southern and northern pylons.
Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said Qantas was honoured to receive such a spectacular centenary birthday show from Sydney and the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society at Albion Park Rail.
HARS president Bob De La Hunty described the anniversary dinner as a momentous event to mark the centenary of Australia's national carrier.
It also provided an opportunity to raise funds to bring the John Travolta Qantas 707 to Australia in 2021.
"The relationship between Qantas and HARS has its origins in the Class of 56, a group of seven Qantas engineers who joined the airline as apprentices in 1956. These engineers became HARS volunteers in the 1990s and they are still with us today."
Mr De La Hunty said they not only took responsibility to bring the Super Constellation known as Connie to the aviation museum, but keep it in the air.
"Connie is the only Super Constellation in the world still flying, predominantly due to their skills, determination and commitment. It is therefore appropriate that HARS host this Qantas celebration."
Shellharbour Mayor Cr Marianne Saliba said she also had the privilege to welcome Qantas staff past and present at a barbecue at HARS on Sunday to mark the 100th anniversary.
"We are very proud to have HARS here in Shellharbour. If it wasn't for HARS we would be losing a lot of the history of aviation."
Among those who travelled from Sydney for the centenary dinner were Qantas Flight Hostess Club members Lynn Hutchison, Annette Keefe and Robyn McGaw who started their careers with the airline between 1965 and 1968.
They also visited HARS in July for the flyover of the first Boeing 747-400 in the Qantas fleet by the last.
Monday night's birthday dinner started with a lone bagpiper playing I Still Call Australia Home.
During the event Qantas Founders Museum co-founder Warwick Tainton recalled the beginnings of Qantas in Queensland and the people involved in getting the airline off the ground.
The formalities ended with another former pilot Reg Darwell cutting a cake before sharing some of the national carrier's history from first-hand encounters with one of the Qantas founders.
Mr Darwell talked about how his long career started as a junior executive trainee in the mail-room running errands for Qantas chief executive Sir Hudson Fysh.
He went on to become a navigator on the Super Constellations and then a pilot and captain of Boeing 707 and 747 flights around the world.
Read more of Reg Darwell's story in Movers & Shakers on Saturday.
- Looking back on 50 years of memories as Australia says thank you to the Queen of the Skies
- All the photos of the farewell salute from the last Qantas 747-400 to the first
- Flying replica of Australia's most famous history making aircraft closer to take off
- Nancy Bird Walton's legacy has inspired her great grand daughter Maysa to attend an aviation high school so she can learn fly
- Did you know HARS was involved in an epic eight day mission to restore aviation history in China in 2016 that took 96 days through six countries to complete?
- Final Qantas Boeing 747 leaves a flying kangaroo formation in the sky
- 30th anniversary of HARS Jumbo's record breaking flight
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