In the category of “you learn something new every day” … now I know how it feels to vacuum clean a Jumbo jet. Yes, a real one, at the Qantas Founders Outback Museum in Longreach where I have worked part-time as a tour guide since October 2014. I can report it takes about an hour of pretty stiff effort in January’s summer heat, equipped with a 5kg RocketVac backpack vacuum and a very long power cord. Here I am (below) at the rear of economy class, looking forward. Like most things, there is an easy way and a hard way. I now know that it’s easier to start down the back because of the design of the seats (you can get under them more easily from the rear) and how difficult it is to vacuum a spiral staircase up to the old Captain Cook lounge (lower picture) … now that’s an interesting exercise. Oh yes, I’ve also feather-dusted the 1979-vintage airliner throughout, as well as its 1959 cousin 707 across the museum parking area. It’s a whole new world out here in Longreach.
The town of Longreach, in the Australian Outback 2000km north by north-west from Melbourne, is home to the Cattlemen’s Bar & Grill (below, left) at the Stockman’s Hall of Fame. As you can see (below, right) it’s also home to the Qantas Founders Museum (note the aircraft with the Flying Kangaroo in the background.)
They installed a 7.3 metre Kentucky-made Big Ass ceiling fan in 2008. Sitting under the huge 10-bladed fan, which spins ponderously in its “high volume, low speed” way , is certainly memorable and seems to attract attention. The restaurant food and beverage manager at the time, Iona Nicol (below), told me “we have so many people come in to take photos”. People even come to get married under the blades: there were 12 weddings in the bar in 2009 and by Easter 2010 when we visited, there had already been 14.