Welcome to Bush Pilots Airways

John Williamson – Papa Whisky November

Bush Pilots Airways commenced operations in 1951 and ceased in 1988 when it was then known as Air Queensland.

Having lived a short but dynamic life incorporating immense progress and change, the airline served a dire need at the time and adapted to the changing environment, grasping new opportunities until economic reality finally dictated its demise.

Pre and post World War II, many airlines had been established to serve the remote areas of Australia. Its main market was the grazing industry, and when the weather was bad and beef and wool prices were low, graziers’ belt tightening adversely affected trading.

The airline grew and marketing horizons lifted, and there was some concern over the ‘bush’ content of the name, as it brought to mind such disparaging descriptions as a ‘bush haircut’ or a ‘bush lawyer’. The name was OK for the local community, but what would sophisticated international tourists think with promotional material heralding a ‘bush pilot’? In 1977 it was re-identified as BPA, with the tag ‘Australia’s Northern Airline’.

If you’d like to make a quick ‘Bushies’ enquiry, simply click, complete and submit the online form and we’ll get back to you soon.


The idea of developing a Bush Pilots website had been occasionally discussed by former employees of the Airline during the mid 1990s.

There was general agreement that a website would be beneficial to enable the history of the Airline to be recorded and told.  It would also provide a platform for announcing details of future events. Col Shedden and Graham Jeffries had started to collect details of significant historical events and Graham commenced a Web designer course that was available at the Cairns campus of the University of the 3rd Age (U3A). This equipped Graham with the knowledge and skills required to develop the website.

We thank everyone who participated in this project as well as everyone who has provided information for inclusion into the website over many years. 

This renewed and updated website is dedicated to the memory of Graham Jeffries. His dedication and drive are appreciated by all of us who continue to refer to the Bushies.net website.