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Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland
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14 July, 2020

Airpark architects flying high

AFTER FACING unforeseen launch delays and ever-changing weather conditions, the hard work shown from Noel Robinson Architects (NRA), Watpac Construction and several labourers has finally paid-off for Qantas Founders Museum following the completion of the tourist attraction’s $14.3 million, two-stage Airpark Roof project.

By Hamish Hart

Airpark takes off…The Qantas Founders Museum’s Airpark Roof project took many moons to complete, covering an area of 8072m2.

Stage one of the Airpark Roof began in April 2019, with construction being handed over to Watpac in September. The 26 metre high construct was designed to cover the museum’s iconic Boeing 747, 707 and Super Constellation aircraft.

The second stage saw the construction of the recently-opened light show, Luminescent Longreach, and a nine metre viewing platform underneath the roof.

In February two teams were tasked with installing the Airpark’s sheeting, withstanding 10-hour shifts and the outback’s infamous heat, wind and flies.

For 25 years, NRA has assisted Qantas Founders with the expansion and upgrading of their facilities, including the redesigned museum which opened in March 2002.

NRA Collaborative CEO and Airpark Architect, Noel Robinson, said he was “emotional” after witnessing the completed project, praising Watpac and the local workforce for their awe-inspiring efforts.

“I’ve worked as an architect for 48 years, won more than 60 awards, and worked on thousands of projects, but this is one of the top projects of my career,” Mr Robinson said.

“To see the project completed in person after so much work had gone into it was very rewarding. It will help evolve the community.

“Watpac built the project’s first stage and having them has been a godsend. With the uncertainty surrounding the project initially, they were incredible and we are very pleased with the teamwork shown during the process.

“Longreach will be very proud to have the facility because it will keep visitors here for another night, improving income for the town. This is a legacy project for Qantas’ founders.”

The Qantas Founders Museum has reopened their doors to the public with CEO Tony Martin saying NRA, Watpac and the Airpark’s workforce were paramount in the attraction’s “return to form.”

“We’re ecstatic to open our doors and it’s tremendous to have our team back greeting everyone,” Mr Martin said.

“We’ve had a long relationship with NRA and, like the museum, this project has been absolutely brilliant. The Airpark project is something we’re certainly proud of and it’s something they should also be proud of.

“Watpac oversaw construction and the level of service they provided was phenomenal. We briefed everyone in the early days that using local tradies was paramount.

“It was great to see Watpac took our advice and that locals were able to prosper from the project.”

Mr Martin also confirmed a number of projects are on the table, including an additional roof for the museum’s Catalina aircraft.

“We have several projects in the pipeline and their status is unknown at the moment,” Mr Martin said. “Like other non-for-profit organisations, we apply for grants. Some are successful, some aren’t.

“We will continue this process so we can better serve the Central West region.”

Qantas Founders Museum and the Airpark Roof opened to the public on July 1.


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