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Livery of the Week: Qantas’ Wunala Dreaming

This iconic livery once adorned Qantas' 747 aircraft.

A Qantas 747 in the Wunala livery (Photo: Phil Vabre (GFDL or GFDL ), via Wikimedia Commons)

Editor’s Note: AirlineGeeks is excited to launch our ‘Livery of the Week’ series. Every Friday, a team member will share an airline livery, which can be from the past, present, or even a special scheme. Some airline liveries are works of art. The complexity associated with painting around critical flight components and the added weight requires outside-the-box thinking from designers. The average airliner can cost upwards of $200,000 to repaint, creating a separate aircraft repainting industry as a result. 

Have an idea for a livery that we should highlight? Drop us a line

In the vast Australian skies, a Boeing 747 once adorned itself not in the traditional airline livery, but in a vibrant tapestry of colors and symbols. This was Qantas’ Wunala Dreaming, a livery that transcended its role as a mere mode of transportation to become a symbol of cultural respect and artistic expression.

A Canvas on Wings

Crafted in 1994, the Wunala Dreaming design was the first of its kind, conceived and painted by Aboriginal artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Her bold strokes and vibrant hues, inspired by the Dreaming stories of her Western Desert country, transformed the aircraft into a mesmerizing canvas.

The kangaroo, a symbol of ancestral spirits and journeys, took center stage, its silhouette dancing across the fuselage amidst circles and dots representing waterholes and stars.

A Qantas 747-400 in the Wunala Dreaming livery (Photo: Kambui, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Beyond Aesthetics

Wunala Dreaming was a powerful statement of reconciliation and cultural pride. For many Australians, it served as a poignant reminder of the continent’s rich Indigenous heritage, often overshadowed by colonial narratives. The aircraft’s global journeys carried these stories far and wide, sparking conversations and challenging perceptions.

Wunala Dreaming flew the friendly skies for nearly two decades, captivating audiences and earning accolades. It was recognized as the world’s largest flying canvas and even featured on an Australian postage stamp. The last aircraft to wear the special paint scheme was VH-OEJ until 2011.

Qantas’ Wunala Dreaming stands as a beacon of artistic innovation and intercultural understanding. Today, the airline continues to be known for its Flying Art series, which most recently included a special paint scheme on the carrier’s first A220 aircraft.

Looking for a new airplane model? Head over to our friends at the Midwest Model Store for a wide selection of airlines and liveries.

Ryan Ewing
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  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

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