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Australian National Aviation Museum

Home > Melbourne > Museums
by Neil Follett (subscribe)
I'm a retired photographer living in Lilydale mainly researching and writing on Australian aviation history. Now writing more on general subjects.
Published July 27th 2019
Get an aeronautical experience without leaving the ground
Museum building
The museum entrance.

It's not hard to find. As you enter the airport from Grange Road you pass over a slight rise in the road and there on your right you will notice two very large aeroplanes, a Vickers Viscount and a Bristol Freighter.

Bristol Freighter
The Bristol Freighter is the first aircraft you see.

As you get closer you will see a row of aircraft next to a large building.

Aircraft line up.
Line of aircraft beside the hangar.

Every aircraft and exhibit in the museum can tell a story.

The Viscount was donated to the museum by TAA (Trans Australian Airlines) and before them, it was operated by Cubana, Cuba's national airline. It is believed that on occasions it acted as the personal transport for Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro.

Vickers Viscount.
Ex TAA Vickers Viscount.

Pride of place in the collection is the Australian built Beaufighter, built at Fisherman's bend in Melbourne during World War Two and saw service with the Royal Australian Air Force. The Beaufighter is the reason the ANAM exists. In 1962 it was used as a playground item at the Lord Mayors Children's Camp at Portsea and about to be scrapped as it had been damaged to extent of becoming dangerous to play in.

Bristol Beaufighter
The Beaufighter at Portsea just before acquisition.

The Australian Aircraft Restoration Group (AARG) was hastily constituted in 1962 and saved the aircraft from the scrapyard. In 1965, the AARG opened the Moorabbin Air Museum at Moorabbin Airport and now operates as the ANAM.

Bristol Beaufighter
The Beaufighter in pristine condition with engines capable of running.

Man's first powered flight is credited to the Wright Brothers in 1903. Man would have flown much earlier if suitable engines were available, an engine being an integral part of achieving powered flight. The ANAM has an extensive collection of aero engines, ranging from a 1914 V8 to many jet engines, including a Jumo jet engine from Germany of WW2 vintage.

BE-2 wing
A wing from a 1913 vintage BE-2e aircraft.

Aircraft engine.
1915 built Kelly & Lewis engine built in Melbourne.

The Percival Proctor is a direct development of the Percival Gull series of aircraft designed by an Australian, Edgar Percival. Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and New Zealander Jean Batten made many record breaking flights in a Gull in the 1930s. Author Neville Shute owned a Proctor which in the1950s was based at Moorabbin Airport.

Percival Proctor.
Percival Proctor with Auster overhead.

The Victa Air Tourer was built by the Victa Motor Mower Company to an Australian design by Henry Millicer. The prototype Air Tourer made its first flight at Moorabbin Airport in 1959.

Air Tourer
Two products of the Victa Company, Air tourer and motor mower.

The CAC Wirraway (A20-10) is one of 755 built at Fisherman's Bend before and during WW2. It is the oldest example of the type surviving.

The oldest Wirraway in the world.

Many of the museum's collection are aircraft built in Australia, not necessary Australian designed. The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Sabre was an American design modified for Australian use and served with the Royal Australian Air Force as its front line fighter in the 1950s, before being superseded by the French designed Mirage, built in Melbourne by the Government Aircraft Factory in Melbourne.

The CAC built Sabre.

The GAF built Mirage.

The cockpits of many of the aircraft have steps allowing close up viewing of 'the office.' You can actually sit in the cockpit of the Viscount.

Viscount cockpit.
The cockpit of the Viscount.

As you enter the reception, you are confronted with many displays of aviation memorabilia, aviation books, magazine and model kits, all for sale at very reasonable prices.

Shop interior
Part of the displays in the entrance building.

Books & magazines
Books, magazines and models all for sale.

Fourteen of the museum's aircraft were built in Melbourne at Fishermans Bend, so it could be said they have come home.
The museum hold over fifty aircraft, many in storage and in need of restoration.
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When: Monday to Friday 10.00 am to 4.00 pm /Saturday & Sunday 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Phone: 9580-7752
Where: Australian National Aviation Museum, First Avenue, Moorabbin Airport. Melways map: 87 G.4.
Cost: Adults $10-00, Children $5-00 under five free. Family $20-00, Concession/pensioner $7-00
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