How Brit posted home from Australia in crate prepared for perilous 4-day journey


A Brit who tried to post himself home from Australia to Wales in 1965 meticulously hatched his plan – only to end up in Los Angeles.

Brian Robson, then 19, is now searching for the two men who nailed down the crate that was then loaded onto a freight plane.

Mr Robson, now 75, got extremely homesick in Australia but was unable to afford the plane fare home.

The teenager, who worked for Victorian Railways, realised that a plane ticket home would cost him £700 – 17 times his monthly salary.

So he schemed up a plan to return home to the UK without having to pay for a ticket.

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Brian emerging from the airport in 1965
Brian arrived in London stiff and limping

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Mr Robson bought a small wooden crate and convinced two Irishmen he knew only as Paul and John to stow him aboard a freight plane, he told the Irish Times.

The “quite horrific experience” lasted four days and Brian was repeatedly stored upside down.

Almost six decades on he is looking to reconnect with the men who helped him get home in a bid to thank them.

“I’m 99% sure that they were called Paul and John,” he told the Irish Times. “Paul really was 100% against it … but John said, ‘Don’t worry about it, I’ll persuade him.’

Brian Robson
Welshman Brian somehow managed to reach Los Angeles crate

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“And so, they both went ahead and helped.”

Ahead of his perilous journey back to Cardiff, Wales, Brian packed a “mini-fridge” sized box with a pillow, a book of Beatles songs and a suitcase.

One was for drinking in, the other urinating.

He also took laxatives for three days before the big journey to make sure he wasn’t caught short.

Briain Robson in 1965
Brian made it home despite the impromptu trip to the Los Angeles

His friends then nailed the package shut with Brian inside, labelled it as a computer and booked it onto a Qantas flight from Melbourne to London.

However the cleverly thought through plan was ultimately scuppered.

Brian and his crate wer transferred to a PanAm flight headed for Los Angeles because the original plane was full.

There he was stored away in a freight shed where, having been stuck in the box for five days, he was too weak to hammer himself out.

Luckily a man “looked through a hole in a wood knot in the chest and we caught each other eye to eye”, Brian told the BBC.

“He jumped back a mile and said, ‘There’s a body in there.’”

Brian Robson
Brain will have been desperate for his mum’s cooking after his long voyage home

After spending five days recovering in hospital he was questioned by the FBI before being released and allowed to fly on a passenger jet back to the UK.

Australian MP Dan Mackinnon reacted strongly to news of the stowaway, demanding legal action against “this apparently useless young man”.

The then-acting minister for immigration Leslie Bury said no action would be taken against him.

When Brian got home he wrote to the two men, who he had got on “famously” with, but they never responded.

Now he does not remember where they were from or what their surnames were.

Almost sixty years on the Welshman views his escapade in a slightly different light.

“If my kids tried it, I would kill them,” he told the BBC.

“But it was a different time.”

Brian has documented his journey in a book, The Crate Escape, which is due to be published at the end of the month.

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