Qantas' newest aircraft celebrates Indigenous origins of airline's kangaroo emblem

[by Eloise Madden]

Image: supplied

Qantas has named its newest international aircraft Gangurru after one of Australia’s most iconic animals, celebrating the Indigenous origins of the airline’s own kangaroo emblem.


The latest Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to join the airline’s fleet has been named Gangurru, meaning ‘kangaroo’ in the traditional language of the Guugu Yimidhirr people of Southern Cape York.


Qantas’ newest aircraft will take a piece of Indigenous language to the world, seen by travellers around the globe from London to Los Angeles, New York and Singapore.


Hopevale community cultural leader and Art Centre Director Harold Ludwick says, “My community would be proud to know the world will know their language and where the word kangaroo originated from.


“Wherever people use this word now… they are indirectly speaking the Guugu Yimidhirr language.”


The word ‘gangurru’ was first recorded in writing in 1770 by Joseph Banks and Sydney Parkinson on the voyage of HMS Endeavour, making its way into the modern English vernacular as kangaroo.


At the time of European settlement in Australia there were over 250 Indigenous language groups.


The arrival of Gangurru to the Qantas fleet late last year coincided with United Nations’ International Year of Indigenous Languages.


Gangurru joins the Qantas fleet alongside Emily, another of the airline’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, which features a special livery based on the work of late Northern Territory artist and senior Anmatyerre woman, Emily Kame Kngwarreye (Yam Dreaming, 1991).


Emily is the most recent addition to the airline’s Flying Art series which has seen five aircraft take to the skies with specially commissioned liveries based on the work of Indigenous artists since 1994.


Qantas is proud to honour the Indigenous origins of its much-loved marsupial mascot with its newest aircraft.


“We could call it the Flying Gangurru now,” said Mr Ludwick.


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