Elizabeth Fysh p1

READERSVOICE.COM aims to collect a few interesting reading tips. This issue features Elizabeth Fysh who is the author of When Chairmen were Patriots. It’s a biography of Fergus McMaster, who was one of the three founders of QANTAS. Ms Fysh recommends a lot of interesting books, including biographies.

In June 1920, grazier Fergus McMaster arranged to meet fellow WW1 veterans, pilots Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness at the Gresham Hotel in Brisbane. They discussed forming an air service in Western Queensland. Immediately after the meeting, McMaster spotted someone in the bar he knew, and he approached them for finance for the new company. Later he visited a bookseller for more finance. He wasn’t one to waste time.

McMaster’s life was closely intertwined with QANTAS as it grew. When Chairmen were Patriots shows how McMaster’s quiet persistence overcame many obstacles, including personal losses. The biography is a well written saga, neatly told in about 200 pages. The book is also a window into the Queensland of the early to mid-twentieth century, including outback station life, the war years and more.

READERSVOICE.COM: Fergus McMaster made a lot of bold moves and achieved some great things. Would someone like him, even with his perseverance and quiet persuasion, still be able to achieve great things today, would you say?

ELIZABETH FYSH: Australia was of course a very different place then. It was a new frontier, with opportunities abounding . As far as Qantas was concerned, you could say that all the stars aligned with the three men involved who each brought a special quality to the venture, and the timing was right too.

Now, I guess you could say that opportunities exist but on the cyber ‘frontier’ perhaps.

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