Gayle Beveridge is a past winner of the Boroondara Literary Awards and her work has appeared in Award Winning Australian Writing. Gayle is passionate about family, writing, photography, and with Victoria’s beautiful Bass Coast which she now calls home.
Published July 24th 2021
Fly, fly away into an aviation mecca
Planes and helicopters have captured the imagination of generations of people not least of all those who devote their time to the collection and preservation of these wonderful machines for everybody to enjoy. So what are you waiting for, come on out and take a look at these flying machines from across of aviation history! Most of these museums are in or near Melbourne, and the other couple, well, they're an excuse for a weekend away.
Australian National Aviation Museum in Moorabbin - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge.
1. Australian National Aviation Museum at Moorabbin Airport houses a collection of aircraft, engines, models, uniforms and other historic aviation items. The museum concentrates on aircraft made in Australia. Of key interest in the collection are the oldest surviving Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) Wirrawee A2-10, a Victa AirToura, DAP Mk21 Beaufighter and a Kiowa Helicopter A17-055. As it is at the airport children will enjoy watching the planes take off and land. Check the opening times and pricing on their website. https://www.aarg.com.au/
Australian National Aviation Museum in Moorabbin Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
2. Airways Museum is run by the Civil Aviation Historical Society at Essendon Airport. The museum houses a collection of artefacts and photographs tracing the development of Australia's civil aviation airways system from the 1920s to the present. The displays are arranged into five areas: air traffic control, air to ground and ground to ground communications equipment, radio navigation beacons and radar, airport lighting and visual approach guidance, and flight calibration of navigation aids. There are no aircraft at this museum. In normal times tours are available on Tuesdays and at other times by appointment. Check their website for more details, COVID-safe measures, opening times, and pricing. www.airwaysmuseum.com/
The Airways Museum Poster from the CAHS and Airways Museum Facebook page
3. Ballarat Aviation Museum at Ballarat Airport houses a collection of aircraft, engines, radios, cameras and aviation memorabilia. Visitors are free to browse or may ask a staff member to conduct a tour. In addition to the displays, the museum conducts restoration projects. In normal times the museum is open in the weekends. Check their website https://www.ballarataviationmuseum.com.au/ and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Ballarat-Aviation-Museum-129239723795652 for current opening times, COVID-safe measures, and location.
Image from the Ballarat Aviation Museum Facebook page
4. Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum is known as 'The Home of the Catalina' and is housed in a converted bunker. The museum houses not only the restored Catalina A24-30 flying boat but in excess of 500 artefacts relating to lake Boga's WWII history when servicemen and women were stationed at the No. 1 Flying Boat Repair Depot in lake Boga. Artefacts include aircrafts, machinery, vehicles, components, weapons, armoury, uniforms, photographs, interactive displays and audio presentations. Check their website for opening times, COVID-safe plans, and pricing. https://www.lakebogaflyingboat.com/
Lake Boga Catalina - Image by Mattinbgn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
5. Australian Gliding Museum in Bacchus Marsh was formed in 1999 to preserve old and historic gliders and to collect them in a safe place. The collection now includes more than 50 gliders along with gliding archival materials. Visitors can make bookings to attend the workshop and see the restorations in progress. Check their website under 'About us – Jining and Visiting' for contact details. https://australianglidingmuseum.org.au/about-us/joining-and-visting
At the Australian Gliding Museum - Image by Dwayne Clifton from Facebook
6. The RAAF Museum at the RAAF Base at Point Cook tells the story of the Australian Flying Corp and the Royal Australian Air Force, the second oldest air force in the world. Exhibitions cover heritage, training and technology. Interactive flying displays are presented three times a week. Point Cook is the birthplace of the RAAF and was its only base from 1912 to 1925. Visit their website for more details, prices and opening hours https://www.airforce.gov.au/raaf-museum
RAAF Museum Photo copyright Roger Marien by permission.
7. B-24 Liberator Memorial Australia Inc. in Werribee is a WWII hangar where the only remaining Liberator in the Southern Hemisphere and is one of only eight still existent in the world is being restored by a dedicated team of volunteers. Visitors can view the restoration to date and chat with volunteers. In normal times the hangar is open to visitors Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 9.30am to 3.30pm. More details are available on their website. https://www.b24australia.org.au/
Image from the B24 Liberator Memorial - Werribee Facebook Page
8. Benalla Aviation Museum is dedicated to Australia's military air training history. Displays include military training aircraft, some of which are operational, a restored tiger moth, working engines, a flight training simulator, period uniforms, photographs and model aircraft. The museum has a particular meaning as RAAF Pilots training during the World War 2 conflict were stationed at the Benalla Airfield and operated as 11 EFTS Squadron. In normal times the museum is open Wednesdays and Sundays. For further details including current projects, location, and opening hours, check their website. https://www.benallaaviationmuseum.org.au/
Image from Benalla Aviation Museum and Mens Shed Facebook Page
I hadn't seen this article when I suggested you visit the Australian National Aviation at Moorabbin airport. A piece of useless trivia - I was on board the DC-3 that is the first photo of your article when it was flown into Moorabbin from Tullamarine in 1972.