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Fords and Flying Machines: The Diary of Jack McLaren is a book in the My Australian Story series. It was written by Patricia Bernard, her first in the series. The book was first published in October 2003 and later reprinted in February 2013. It was followed by Siobhan McHugh's Snowy.


"My 'every lasting' thanks to Mr Gary Deakin, curator of the Powerhouse Museum, Longreach; George Robers, curator of Qantas Historical Museum, Mascot; Bob Alford, Darwin Heritage Consultant; Colin Julin; and to my patient editor, Kantinka Proudfoot.
Thank you friends.

Book description[]

"Jack McLaren's dream is to be an automobile mechanic. When his uncle offer's him an apprenticeship in Longreach, Jack jumps at the chance. Little does Jack know that his long trip to central Queensland will be the start of a whole new dream. Jack is soon on the first automobile ever to travel the Gulf Track from Longreach to Katherine. With him are two World War I pilots with dreams of their own. After weeks of breakdowns, broken axles, crocodiles and snakes, all agree that there are easier ways to cross the Australian outback, The Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service is about to be born."


Historical Note[]


Main article: List of Fords and Flying Machines characters


Main article: Patricia Bernard



"Thanks to:
Mrs Carmen Brook, Head librarian Longreach Library.
Ms Kathy MacDonald, Longreach Motors, Longreach.
Elaine Britton, Acacia Downs, Longreach.
Mitchell Library, Research Department.
Sciences Library, University of New South Wales.
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Research Department.
Dorothy Basili, University of New South Wales.
Mr Adrian Ryan, Ford Discovery Centre, Geelong.
Mr George Roberts, Qantas Museum, Mascot.
Mr Ron Yeates, Veteran Car Club of Australia (NSW) and Model T Ford Club of Australia.
Qantas Musuem, Longreach.
Mr Ken Williams, Australian Rail Resource Center.
Mr Stuart Zlotkowski, Wollogorang Cattle Station.
Kim and Tim Trad, owners of the Burketown Hotel, Burketown.
Norma Kinitavaki, Davis Morris, Jayne McKenzie, John D'Riago, Chris Targett.
Aviation Heritage Centre, Winnellie, Darwin.
Darwin Public Library, Government House, Darwin.
Northern Territory Archives.
Leanne Thorpe, Northern Territory Library Services.
Bob Alford, Heritage Consultant, Darwin.


  • The book opens with a quote by Banjo Paterson: "And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended; And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars."


See also[]

My Australian Story

A Banner Bold | Plagues and Federation | A Tale of Two Families | Surviving Sydney Cove | The Rum Rebellion
The Yankee Whaler | A Different Sort of Real | Who Am I? | On Board the Boussole | The Bombing of Darwin
Fords and Flying Machines | Snowy | Riding with Thunderbolt | Our Don Bradman | A Marathon of Her Own
Our Enemy, My Friend

1st relaunch

New Gold Mountain | Outback | Cyclone Tracy | Refugee | The Melting Pot | Archer's Melbourne Cup
Claw of the Dragon | Atomic Testing

2nd relaunch

The Hunt for Ned Kelly | The Phar Lap Mystery | My Father's War | Sydney Harbour Bridge | Heroes of Tobruk
Escape from Cockatoo Island | Gallipoli | Kokoda | Convict Girl | Vietnam

3rd relaunch

Black Sunday | Our Race for Reconciliation | Bushfire | Rebellion at Eureka | Castle Hill Rebellion | Six Seconds
The Battle for Victoria Street