Carry On

Travel Bag, c1954

East-West Airlines was a regional airline based at Tamworth operating from 1947 to 1993. The airline operated commercial passenger flights from Port Macquarie’s Aerodrome. The first East West Airlines flight from Port Macquarie to Sydney was on Monday 28 November 1955 in a Lockheed Hudson under the control of Capt. Ronald W Walesby [1918-2018]. By the 1980s, it was Australia’s third-largest domestic airline. It ceased operation in 1993.

Bags like this one were carried by East-West Airlines staff, particularly flight attendants, or as they were called at the time, air hostesses. This bag was a gift from Capt. Walesby to a friend, Margaret Muir Johnston, shortly before her marriage in 1954.

Ronald William Walesby, Service No. 413697, enlisted in the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) in September 1941 and after his discharge in 1946 joined East-West Airlines during its first year of operation. He later became East-West Airlines Manager of Flight Operations.

Ron Walesby wrote in his memoirs: “The history of aviation is littered with names of airlines who tried and failed for one reason or another … From its primitive beginnings, East-West Airlines did much to open up a significant part of the country for millions of passengers to regular, modern air transport… It deserves a place in aviation history.”


Where was East West Airlines based?

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