Emirates SkyCargo transports rare pieces of musical equipments to Australia

Published: Monday, April 8, 2019

Emirates SkyCargo has successfully transported the first piano to arrive on Australian soil in 1788 from Perth to London.

The square piano made by Frederick Beck, one of the leading piano makers of the time in London, known as the First Fleet Piano, landed in Sydney on board the HMS Sirius, one of the 11 First Fleet ships that sailed from England to Australia, after an eight month voyage.

Fast forward 231 years, and the First Fleet Piano, now in the collection of Edith Cowan University, Perth, returned home to England.

This time however, the itinerary lasted a mere 21 hours from Perth to London through Dubai, thanks to Emirates SkyCargo.

As well as the First Fleet Piano, Emirates SkyCargo carried five other musical instruments, three of which are rare pieces produced in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The instruments were packed in specially crafted insulated flight cases with sensors to track temperature and movement. These cases were then loaded carefully in the cargo hold of Emirates’ A380 aircraft from Perth to Dubai. Once in Dubai, the piano cases were then rapidly transferred to the connecting flight to London.

The instruments were showcased in a bespoke salon performance at the Australia House.

The First Fleet Piano will then undergo extensive restoration work before returning to Edith Cowan University’s Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts where it will continue to inspire musicians and students for generations to come.

Ravishankar Mirle, Emirates vice president, Cargo Commercial, Far East and Australasia, said: “With the transport of these historic pianos from Edith Cowan University’s collection of rare musical instruments, we have played a role in a cultural project that connects two nations through music and heritage.

“The restoration of the First Fleet piano has firmly placed Edith Cowan University at the centre of worldwide efforts to create research and education programs on how to conserve and restore prized historical instruments. We are confident that our precious Founding Pianos collection will be in safe hands travelling with Emirates SkyCargo,” added Professor Steve Chapman, vice chancellor, Edith Cowan University.