A Carnation* By Any
following table lists the names of all Australian Super
Constellations. In the author's opinion, never before or
since have Australian airliners been graced with such stylishly
poetic names. Also included is the latter day Super Connie
triumphantly brought to Australia by the Historical Aircraft
Restoration Society (VH-EAG #2). This aeroplane is happily
included as she represents a reincarnation of the finest
traditions of the Qantas Connie era. Attention is drawn
to the names bestowed upon VH-EAI (Southern Boomerang)
A bent or curved piece of hardwood used by Australian Aborigines as a missile, one form of which can be thrown so as to return to the thrower.
Prodigal:A returned wanderer.
All of the names are presented together here in nostalgic appreciation of times when airlines demonstrated their pride in their aeroplanes by giving them special names.
|Southern Constellation||VH-EAG #1|
|Southern Mist (see table below)||VH-EAK|
|Southern Moon (see table below)||VH-EAE|
|Southern Myth (see note below)||"VH-EAQ"|
|Southern Preservation||VH-EAG #2|
|Southern Sea (see table below)||VH-EAA|
In July 1957, Qantas News reported that apprentices were converting an L-749 Flight Engineer's Station trainer to an L-1049 Flight Station trainer. This non-motion procedures trainer was known as VH-EAQ Southern Myth.
The above table shows the planned registrations and names for Qantas' second order for Super Constellations. These names and registrations were published in Qantas News of October 1954 which also reported that the delivery of these six aircraft would be delayed to facilitate the incorporation of modifications prompted by Qantas' operational experience with its first four aircraft (VH-EAG, H, I & J).
When these six aircraft were delivered to Australia, their names and registrations varied significantly from what was planned. The reason for the change to the registration pattern is that the delivery deferment permitted the re-allocation of registrations VH-EAA, EAB, EAE and EAF from four L-749 Constellations which had been sold to BOAC in the interim. (The registrations VH-EAM, EAN, EAO and EAP were taken up by later Super Constellations.) The reason for the change of names is not so clear cut however, but it does account for persistent reports that VH-EAK carried both names Southern Moon and Southern Mist and VH-EAA carried both names Southern Mist and Southern Sea.
A possible explanation can be found in a series of photographs taken by Lockheed and supplied to Qantas as a record of the production of these six aeroplanes. The following observations were recorded in a letter dated 4th January 1974 from Qantas Museum and Research Officer, Brian Reed, to Gordon Reid who kindly made the letter available to The Lockheed File.
A photo taken on 3rd November 1954 shows msn 4573 VH-EAK carrying the name Southern Moon. However, another photo taken on 14th January 1955, prior to the departure of the delivery flight, shows the aircraft as Southern Mist. (The aeroplane carried the name Southern Mist on its final flight to the breaker's yard.)
A photo taken on 19th November 1954 shows msn 4578 VH-EAE also carrying the name Southern Moon.
Thus it appears that during November 1954 it emerged that Lockheed had TWO Southern Moons on the line! (The similarity of msns 4573 and 4578 if poorly hand-written might account for the error.) Obviously one had to be changed and possibly it was more convenient to change VH-EAE than it was for VH-EAK to revert to its assigned name. It would appear that the list of names has been applied in the same sequence but commencing at VH-EAE instead of at VH-EAK. The two "SEQ" columns in the above table attempt to illustrate this hypothesis.
Several photos of msn 4580 VH-EAA on the production line show the aeroplane as Southern Sea from the outset.
Added a reference to the procedures trainer known as Southern Myth. Thanks to Peter Hobbins.
#2 Deleted reference to VH-EAA being re-named "Southern Mist" and VH-EAK being re-named "Southern Moon" as this now appears unlikely.
#3 Added a new table to address possible explanations for the above-mentioned reports.