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Qantas reveals new Boeing painted in Aboriginal 'Dreamtime' livery

By David Flynn     Filed under: qantas

UPDATE | Check out our extensive photo gallery of the newest Qantas Boeing jet adorned with Aboriginal livery plus the story behind this innovative project – click here!

PREVIOUS | Qantas has shared the first photos of a bold new Boeing jet painted in unique Aboriginal art which will begin flying on domestic Australian services next month.

The new Boeing 737-800 'Mendoowoorrji' features a design inspired by the work of the late West Australian indigenous artist Paddy Bedford.

It's been painted in its Dreamtime colours at Boeing's factory in Seattle before being flown to Australia next week to enter service on domestic routes.

This will be the fourth member of Qantas' Boeing fleet to carry Aboriginal art, although it's a more subdued and less eye-catching livery than its Dreamtime predecessors, beginning almost 20 years ago with the breathtaking Boeing 747-400 'Wunala Dreaming' (shown below).

This was followed by a second Boeing 747, 'Nalanji Dreaming', with a Boeing 737-800 named 'Yananyi Dreaming' (below) revealed in 2002.

Australian Business Traveller will fly to Seattle next week and return on the delivery flight of the new Boeing 737-800 'Mendoowoorrji' as a guest of Qantas and Boeing.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 30/9/13 by undertheradar

looking forward to the next new flying art.. i love 'em.. (of course i expect many to whinge/complain that the cost should be used in other areas)  ... typical 'simpleminded' response

1 on 1/11/13 by Longreach

As against a fully-formed and well-expressed response perhaps?

2 on 30/9/13 by Joshb

They should paint an A380 in Aboriginal art, that would make a significant statement. An expensive one, no less

1 on 30/9/13 by watson374

If there's a way to minimise the weight of the paint/decals, they might. Still, they could always try an A330 first...

3 on 30/9/13 by Ozkid

Slightly OT, but I didn't realise QF is still buying 737-800s. I thought the plan was to just get hand-me-down A330s from JQ 

Which leads me to 2 questions:

1. what's the acquisition plan(s) for new/not-so-new planes and which existing ones will be let go?

2. Is the paintjob a factory-only option? ("congratulations on your new purchase Mr AJ, can I interest you in rust-protection, floor mats, chrome tipped turbofan exhaust tips, or perhaps Aboriginal painting bodywork?")

1 on 30/9/13 by Michael

Why wouldn't they be buying new 737-800s? With the retirement of the -400s they need to have a replacement ready for the routes the 737s handle.

I'm not sure about the A330s replacing the 737s, buy I can see them replacing 767s, however the turn-around time is a whole nother issue. 

1 on 1/10/13 by Ozkid

What is it about the A330 that makes them slower than the 767 turnaround?

1 on 1/10/13 by watson374

Cargo, the fact they're a bit bigger, etc. All I know is that they had turnarounds of around 80 minutes the last time they tried using them on Cityflyer, and that's why the 763s got pulled back to run Cityflyer as they have a domestic turnaround of 45 minutes (timetabled - take QF 924/925 SYD-CNS-SYD as an example, with a 1225 CNS arrival and a 1310 departure).

2 on 30/9/13 by AJW

 You thought wrong.

Qantas are indeed getting A330's from JQ. There are 10 to come back, 6 of which BTW hand me downs from Qantas anyway and the other 4 built to Qantas domestic spec, so really they are getting them back, with upgrade plans already annouced. 

They also still have 8 (I think) 737-800's on order. These 8, along with the 10 A330's will see the end of the 767-300's in 18 months to 2 years time time and then soon to arrive second hand 717's will see the end of the 737-400's early next year, if not sooner.

1 on 30/9/13 by Himeno

QF has 5 737-400's remaining. According to the August and September Australian Way Magazine, they got rid of one in August. (Had 6 when the August edtion was printed, had 5 when September was)

2 on 1/10/13 by Ozkid

Whoa take it easy, don't need to get arrogant about knowing more about this than me, but thanks for the answer. 

What is the current plan with regards to the 747's

1 on 1/10/13 by AJW

OzKid, don't know about be arrogant,just answered your post using the same language as you used.

As for the 747's, they still have 8 A380's on order, 2 due 2016-2017 and 6 2018/2019 and plan to get rid of 6 more 747's to be left with the 6 ER's and the 3 refurbished non ER's. When has never been made clear.

1 on 1/10/13 by watson374

Are the remaining 744s and 330s not supposed to be replaced by the 789s?

1 on 2/10/13 by AJW

What WAS meant to happen is JQ were going to get 788's, which were then going to be replaced by 789's. The 788's were then meant to come to Qantas to replace the 763's on domestic runs.

Nothing was ever said what would happen to the A330's in the JQ fleet nor what was to replace the 744's QF didn't plan to keep.

As we know the 787's are very late and the plan has changed. At present that plan is there are no 789's on order for JQ, there are no 787's of any type on order for QF (though yes they do hold options).

A330's from JQ are coming back to replace QF 767's along with extra 738 orders, and other than the 8 A380's due in the next 7 years there is no word on what will replace the 6 remaining unrefubished 747's, though I reckon they will be gone before the 8 A380's have joined the fleet.

1 on 31/10/13 by Alvin

No...JQ is getting all -8's, it's Qantas who's getting the -9 fleets

search it up on AusBT.

1 on 1/11/13 by VV

You know, this Qantas' new planes issue is confusing. The only thing is... they're getting new planes to replace old ones.

4 on 1/10/13 by Charles

Love the Aboriginal art on the plane. Its so unique and does stand out and makes a statement. Bring it on!! Can't wait to see these painted planes.

5 on 30/10/13 by Hugo

If this article was "Posted 30 October" as it claims, why are there comments from a month ago?

Anyway, this design looks great! Not ridiculously overpowering like the older ones, just subtle and nice. Perhaps a bit too minimalist. Something in between this and the "I let my kids fingerpaint my 747" effect of some of the older ones would be nice.

1 on 30/10/13 by watson374

Reposted as an updated version, Hugo.

I like this livery. It's very understated, yet distinctly Aboriginal and still distinctly Qantas.

Now, will it feature the Dreamtime seat? :P

6 on 30/10/13 by Darren

The new Boeing DreamTimer - 'Mendoowoorji', would have been a far superior card to play, rather than jetstar getting the first new 787.

7 on 30/10/13 by undertheradar

have received confirmation from a reliable source...the correct spelling is Mendoowoorrji... (double 'r')  ...and i like this new art work..compliments the QF aircraft nicely..and let's not forget..indigenous art and artists are about 'telling a story' and is of significance to the artists region / heritage / 'dreamtime' cant just 'change/alter' it because it's not 'colourful enough' or they should have 'added this or that'!! ... of course some will like...and some will dislike..IT'S ART!!!

8 on 30/10/13 by eminere

There was a "blue" 747 as well, right?

1 on 30/10/13 by nix584

Nalanji Dreaming... a 747-300.

1 on 31/10/13 by eminere

That was one beautiful jet. Too bad it's gone now. 

1 on 1/11/13 by VV

Actually, I think Qantas still has it, but it is kept in storage and used for parts.

1 on 1/11/13 by GONGBANGER

This aircraft VH-EBU is sitting outside the Qantas hangars at Avalon airport. It has been stripped severely and I don't ever see the day when it will fly again.

The Aboriginal art design is also gone with the fuselage now all blue in colour.

1 on 1/11/13 by GONGBANGER

9 on 1/11/13 by VV

Looks brilliant, but the only issue for me is the line around the front of the nose, it seems kinda out of place and a bit too large.

10 on 1/11/13 by Alvin

Why can't they bring aboriginal themed jets to Hong Kong?

11 on 1/11/13 by Jason

The Wunala pictured is Mk II, VH-OEJ. Let us not forget the original, VH-OJB.

12 on 2/11/13 by giancarlo

Paddy Bedford started paintinng in his later years, and when he started he was the poorest pensioner in turkey creek, he was prolific in his output and with the guidance of tony oliver was able to create his stories on boards to tell the world. He couldnt read or write , hadnt been to school but was a natural when it came to painting and had an inherrant talent like picasso and miro. In the end when he had finished painting his mohers and fathers country he just painted, just like picasso because he enjoyed it and escaped the expectations of the market for the fetish of the dream time story. This is reflected in later works which do not habve the dot pattern insitu. Paddy was a Senior Lore Man of the Kimberley and widely respected amongst his peers in the cultural and spiritual realm of Kimberley Aboriginal Lore.


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