Historic piano flown from Perth to London by Emirates SkyCargo

posted on 25th March 2019 by Justin Burns

Emirates SkyCargo has flown a historic piano built in 1788 from Perth to London via Dubai utilising the Dubai-based carrier’s Airbus A380 belly capacity.

The square piano was made in January 1788 by Frederick Beck, one of the leading piano makers of the time in London, became the first keyboard instrument to arrive on Australian soil.

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 that took it from Portsmouth to Rio de Janeiro, then on to Cape Town before reaching Sydney.

The First Fleet Piano – now in the collection of Edith Cowan University, Perth – once again embarked on an epic journey- travelling to its historic home in England.

The First Fleet Piano was joined from Perth by 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.

Once in London, the instruments will be showcased in a bespoke salon performance at the Australia House on 26 March. The First Fleet Piano will then undergo extensive restoration work before returning to Edith Cowan University’s Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

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

“Our modern aircraft and facilities combined with our expertise in handling precious cargo ensured that the pianos travelled safely from their origin to destination.”

Every year Emirates SkyCargo transports a large volume of precious cargo – including historic artefacts and artwork across its network of over 155 destinations.