Wilmot Hudson Fysh (1895–1974), airline director, was born in Launceston. After the First World War, he and another ex-serviceman, Pat McGinness, were commissioned by the government to survey the Longreach–Darwin section of a London-to-Australia flight – their T-model Ford becoming the first car to journey overland to the Gulf of Carpentaria. In 1920, they and three Queensland graziers established Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd (QANTAS), which successfully tendered for passenger and mail service.
Despite fierce competition, in 1934 Qantas and Imperial Airways founded Qantas Empire Airways Ltd, which secured the airmail contract between Australia and England. When the Australian government assumed ownership in 1947, Fysh became chairman and remained as managing director until 1955. He relinquished chairmanship in 1966. Knighted for his work, he wrote an autobiographical trilogy.
Further reading: ADB 8; H Fysh, Taming the north, Sydney, 1950; Qantas rising, Sydney, 1965; and Wings to the World, Sydney, 1970.