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John Economos

Qantas's Greek roots.

Qantas, Australians largest airline, and one of the world's oldest (It's celebrating its 85th year anniversary this year), had Greek names on its first planes.

The names included "Perseus", "Pegasus", "Atalanta", "Hermes" and “Hippomenes" and among the first shareholders of the company was Greek Australian Harry Corones.

At the beginning of the 1920's, two young pilots, Hudson Fysh and Paul Magines, World War I veterans, had a vision to found an airways company to link the huge distance between east and south Australia.

In 1919, Harry Corones, a Greek fisherman from the island of Kithira, who had gone to Australia for a better future and already owned a chain of luxurious hotels in Queensland, was highly impressed by the arrival of the first airplane from Europe. That plane landed in Charleville, a town in Queensland, where Corones had a hotel.

He met the pilots who offered to take him on a flight. That was the beginning, Corones was so impressed that he tried by all means to develop air transport in the distant state he lived. When Hudson Fysh and his associates decided to found Qantas (Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services), Corones contributed to the whole venture with all its forces, offering his hotel for the long conferences and becoming one of the first share holders of the company and proposed to the founders to name the aircrafts after Hellene mythical heroes, which indeed happened after they requested permission by him to name one of the planes after his surname which he declined.

The five first Qantas aircrafts were then named, "Perseus", "Pegasos", "Atalantis", "Hermes" and "Hippomenis".

Harry Corones. Notable Kytherian. Extensive Biography.

Jim Corones and Quilpie. The Book

Harry Corones. Arrival in Australia, 1907

Photo: Harry Corones and Paddy Cryan. ca.1912

Photo: Harry Corones, Jim Corones and their sister, Charleville, ca. 1914

Picture: Hotel Charleville ca. 1915

1916 Greek Census of QLD

Picture: Motor vehicle in Charleville loaded with Shell fuel tins, 1919

Picture: Conference at the Corones Hotel, Charleville, 1927

Harry Corones and Commissioner W. H. Ryan, ca. 1932

Picture: Aerial views of the town centre Charleville, 1934

Harry Corones and aviatrix 'Lores' Bonney standing near her small single engine plane at the Charleville airport, 1933

Harry Corones and aviatrix Nancy Bird-Walton in Charleville, 1935

Aviatrix Nancy Bird-Walton

Picture: Jim Corones, Nancy Bird and Mr O'Neil in Charleville, ca. 1936

1935-38 Greek Businesses in Australia

Corones Hotel - Charleville's Leading Hotel, in its heyday

Photo: Club Hotel at Quilpie, Queensland

Hotel Corones, 2005 article, The Australian

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