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Hudson Fysh : The extraordinary life of the WWI hero who founded Qantas and gave Australia its wings from the popular award-winning journalist and author of BANJO, BANKS and MRS KELLY - Grantlee Kieza

Hudson Fysh

The extraordinary life of the WWI hero who founded Qantas and gave Australia its wings from the popular award-winning journalist and author of BANJO, BANKS and MRS KELLY

By: Grantlee Kieza

Hardcover | 16 November 2022

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The extraordinary life of the Gallipoli veteran and WWI Flying Corp gunner who founded Qantas and gave Australia its wings

Hudson Fysh was a decorated World War I hero who not only founded Australia's national airline, Qantas, but steered it for almost half a century from its humble beginnings with two rickety biplanes to the age of the Jumbo jets. More than anyone, Fysh shaped the way that Australians saw the world.

A sad and sickly boy traumatised by his parents' broken marriage, Fysh was a poor student, but the courage and determination he developed playing sport propelled him through his toughest challenges, and they became the foundations of this great Australian life.

Fysh started work as a jackaroo and farm hand but at the outbreak of World War I he enlisted and fought at Gallipoli as one of Australia's celebrated Light Horsemen. He went on to fly death-defying missions for Lawrence of Arabia with the Australian Flying Corps, and battled the Germans in deadly dogfights in the skies over Palestine.

After returning from the Great War, Fysh launched his bush airline, the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd (Qantas), with the help of a wartime pilot friend and some western Queensland graziers. He initially hoped to make a little money from joy rides and short air-taxi flights in remote grazing country, but he was a far-sighted man who could see the benefits of a small airline in remote areas of Australia. After flying the first scheduled Qantas passenger flight in 1922, he ushered in the Flying Doctors service that still assists remote communities, and the first Qantas international airmail services revolutionised Australian communications. Fysh later helped conquer Australia's tyranny of distance by establishing overseas air routes to give millions of Australians their first experience of international travel.

Always a modest, resolute family man with a steady hand in turbulence, 'the Flying Fysh' guided Qantas from its humble beginnings through the dark days of the Great Depression, the perilous years of World War II, when the airline flew dangerous missions for the Allies, and into the great boom in international tourism that followed with the jet age. Grantlee Kieza, author of critically acclaimed best-selling biographies of John Monash, Banjo Paterson, Joseph Banks, Lachlan Macquarie and Henry Lawson reveals the extraordinary life of the man who gave an Australian icon its wings.

About the Author

Award-winning journalist Grantlee Kieza OAM held senior editorial positions at The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and The Courier-Mail for many years and was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his writing. He is a Walkley Award finalist and the author of nineteen acclaimed books, including bestsellers The Kelly Hunters, Lawson, Banks, Macquarie, Banjo, Mrs Kelly, Monash, Sons of the Southern Cross and Bert Hinkler.

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Published: 4th October 2023

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