Australian National Aviation Museum

The Moorabbin Air Museum is an aviation museum at Moorabbin Airport in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It was founded in 1962 as the Australian Aircraft Restoration Group, in an attempt to maintain a World War II-era Bristol Beaufighter aircraft. It has since become a museum, with a large aircraft collection. It was known as the Australian National Aviation Museum up until October 2021. As of 2021 it held nearly 60 aircraft and 25 engines.[1]

Moorabbin Air Museum
Australian National Aviation Museum is located in Victoria
Australian National Aviation Museum
Location within Victoria
LocationMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
Coordinates37°58′36″S 145°05′28″E / 37.9767°S 145.091°E / -37.9767; 145.091


RAAF Gloster Meteor

The Australian Aircraft Restoration Group was first formed in 1962 as a volunteer group by aviation enthusiasts including members of the Aviation Historical Society of Australia.[2]

The first home for the collection was on a farm in Wandin North then the Pine Hill Service Station, on the Warburton road, outside of Lillydale, Victoria. The museum aircraft were stored there with the Wackett trainer, donated by the Lucas family, displayed prominently. In 1965 land was allocated for a museum at Moorabbin Airport, Victoria.

The collection in the early days was made up of a combination of privately owned aircraft and those the Museum acquired in their own right .

Amongst the first acquisitions was DAP Mark 21 Bristol Beaufighter A8-328 ex Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) that had been used as playground equipment at The Lord Mayor's Children's Camp at Portsea and was at risk of being scrapped.

Following donation of the Beaufighter in April 1962, a CAC Wackett was donated by the Lucas family, followed by the oldest complete aircraft in the collection, a De Haviland DH.60G Gypsy Moth.

1963 was a busy year for the group. In January an Avro Anson was purchased from Flinders Island Airlines, ( VH-FIA) and in May a Gloster Meteor was acquired from the Department of Supply. Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) donated a de Havilland Tiger Moth in mid-1963, and the year was rounded out by recovering a CAC Wirraway from the dump at East Sale RAAF base .

Early in 1964, most of the collection was moved to a service station north of Lilydale, where the Wacket was put on display where it remained until moved to Moorabin . Later in the year many of the aircraft were taken to a market garden adjacent to Moorabbin Airport. In October 1964, a Percival Proctor was donated, and by this stage the Department of Civil Aviation had agreed to lease the group land at Moorabbin Airport, with a fence erected on 20 May 1965.

In 1966, the AARG returned to the farming district near Colac and collected a Curtiss Kittyhawk fuselage, while February 1967 saw the most spectacular arrival when a former Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Fairey Firefly was flown from Bankstown in New South Wales to Moorabbin.

For the next 20 years the Museum grew as more and more aircraft came into the collection and the theme of the Museum was quickly established. An aircraft or artefact acquired by the Museum had to be relevant to Australian aviation history. Without realising it the Museum was establishing what would be labelled by museum professionals years later as a collection policy. This theme is what held the Museum collection together and provided a sense of purpose to the collection. Other aviation museums would form in Australia but none would acquire the vast range of aircraft types, all of which related directly to Australian history. The collection ranges from gliders and homebuilts to World War II combat aircraft, jet fighters, crop dusters and four engine airliners.

1980s and Beyond


By the early 1980s the aircraft collection had grown to a very impressive 30 machines but another very hard lesson had been learned. Collecting aircraft, restoring them and displaying them was not enough. At this time the Museum was still an open-air display and the effects of the weather were beginning to play havoc with the aircraft. No matter how robustly constructed an aircraft may be, if it is left exposed to the elements it will eventually succumb.

During the 1970s and 1980s there had been various proposals put forward by government and private groups to fund a National Aviation Museum in Victoria. The Moorabbin Air Museum was involved in many of these deliberations, but by the late 1980s it had become apparent that none of these schemes would reach fruition. The Museum directors realised that the only way to ensure the long-term survival of the aircraft was to take action themselves, and in 1988 all surplus assets of the museum were sold in order to provide funds to erect an 8,000-square-foot hangar on the Museum site. In April 1989 that hangar was completed and three years later it was extended to 12,000 square feet. In the intervening years a library, workshop and store were also erected together with an entry building and shop.

Over the years the Moorabbin Air Museum has been recognised by a number of awards, the most prestigious of which was a Certificate of Merit in the 1985 Museum of the Year Awards. Apart from the preservation of aircraft, the Museum's other great accomplishment has been the number of young members who have gone on to careers in aviation or museology; the experience gained while at the Museum standing them in good stead in their working lives.

To many it would seem that the Museum has accomplished its goals, but in truth it has barely begun. Between 1980 and 2000 the aircraft collection increased by an average of one airframe per year. The collection now totals 52 machines, and that makes the Museum the largest aircraft owner on Moorabbin Airport. It is an aeronautical collection larger than half the world's airlines and a third of the world's air forces, and only one third of it is displayed under cover. The rest is in storage, on loan, under restoration or, at worst, on display in the open air.

In September 2021, the Museum was granted a lease on land opposite the current site, increasing total size by around 4000sqm. A new facility will be built there as part of Stage One of the Community Heritage Precinct, and will finally see all aircraft undercover and protected for the first time in the Museum's history.

Aircraft in collection

RAN Fairey Gannet
Ansett Douglas DC-3
TAA Vickers Viscount
Air Express Bristol Freighter
Acquired Operator/s Aircraft Number
2018 RAAF CA-27 Avon Sabre[3] A94-910
1994 RAAF CAC CA-12 Boomerang[4] A46-25
RAAF CAC CA-31 Operational Trainer (mock-up)[5]
CAC CA-28 Ceres[6] VH-WOT
1968 RAAF CAC CA-6 Wackett[7] A3-22
1982 RAAF CAC CA-25 Winjeel[8] A85-418
RAAF CAC CA-1 Wirraway[9] A20-10
RAF Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2a (wings only)[10]
RAAF DAP Bristol Beaufort MK V[11] A9-13
RAAF GAF Jindivik[12] A92-492
RAF Avro Lincoln[13] RF342
1993 RAAF Dassault Mirage IIIO[14] A3-45
RAAF General Dynamics F-111 (cockpit)[15] A8-131
RAAF Bristol Type 171 Sycamore[16] A91-1
RAAF Consolidated PBY Catalina[17] A24-88
1966 RAAF Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk (under restoration)[18] A29-53
1985 RAAF/TAA de Havilland Tiger Moth[19] A17-377
RAN de Havilland Sea Venom[20] N4-901
1972 RAN Fairey Firefly[21] WD827
RAN Fairey Gannet A.S.4[22] XG789
1963 RAAF Gloster Meteor T7[23] A77-707
1982 Miles M-38 Messenger 2A (Civilian airframe painted in RAF Invasion stripes[24] VH-AVQ
2004 Pakistan Air Force/Air Express Bristol Type 170 Freighter[25] VH-ADL
2005 Eastern Air Lines/RAAF Douglas DC-2[26] NC13782 / A30-9 / VH-CRK
1972 USAAF/RAAF/ANA/Ansett Australia Douglas DC-3[27] VH-ANH (VHCDJ)
1971 Cubana de Aviación/Trans Australia Airlines Vickers Viscount V.816[28] VH-TVR
1992 Auster J-1B Aiglet[29] VH-ACY
1967 British Aircraft Swallow II[30] VH-UUM
1982 Cessna 310[31] VH-AER
Airlines of Tasmania de Havilland Heron[32] VH-CLX
1965 de Havilland Gypsy Moth[33] VH-UKV
1968 Desoutter Mk.II[34] VH-UPR
Duigan pusher biplane(Replica)[35] VH-DGN
Percival Proctor[36] VH-AUC
2015 US Air Boeing 737 (forward fuselage)[37][38] RP-C8006
1989 Aero Club of South Australia Victa Airtourer 100[39] VH-BWI
2016 RAAF English Electric Canberra A84-226
2016 Pazmany PL-4 VH-XAP
2016 Royal Australian Air Force GAF Nomad A18-316[40]
2021 Victoria Police Aerospatiale Dauphin II VH-PVF

See also



  1. ^ Ogden (2008)
  2. ^ Gaff, Keith. "The Scrap Metal Squadron: A History of the Moorabbin Air Museum". Kingston Historical Website. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  3. ^ CAC CA-27 Avon Sabre A94-910 Retrieved 12 September 2016
  4. ^ CAC CA-12 Boomerang A46-25 Retrieved 12 September 2016
  5. ^ CAC CA-31 Operational Trainer Retrieved 12 September 2016
  6. ^ CAC CA-28 Ceres VH-WOT Retrieved 12 September 2016
  7. ^ CAC CA-6 Wackett A3-22 Retrieved 10 September 2016
  8. ^ CAC CA-25 Winjeel A85-418 Retrieved 12 September 2016
  9. ^ CAC CA-1 Wirraway A20-10 Retrieved 12 September 2016
  10. ^ 1913 RAF B.E. 2A Wings Retrieved 12 September 2016
  11. ^ DAP (Bristol) Beaufort MK V A9-13 / T9552 Retrieved 12 September 2016
  12. ^ GAF Jindivik A92-492 Retrieved 12 September 2016
  13. ^ GAF Lincoln RF342 Retrieved 12 September 2016
  14. ^ GAF Mirage IIIO A3-45 Retrieved 12 September 2016
  15. ^ Air Power Australia - Annex B Retrieved 16 September 2016
  16. ^ Bristol Type 171 Sycamore A91-1 Retrieved 12 September 2016
  17. ^ Consolidated PBY Catalina A24-88 Retrieved 12 September 2016
  18. ^ Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk A29-53 Retrieved 12 September 2016
  19. ^ De Havilland DH82A Tiger Moth A17-377 Retrieved 12 September 2016
  20. ^ De Havilland Sea Venom Archived 5 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 12 September 2016
  21. ^ Fairey Firefly Retrieved 12 September 2016
  22. ^ Fairey Gannet A.S.4 - XG789 Archived 8 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 12 September 2016
  23. ^ Gloster Meteor T7 A77-707 Retrieved 12 September 2016
  24. ^ Miles M-38 Messenger 2A - VH-AVQ Retrieved 12 September 2016
  25. ^ Bristol Type 170 Freighter VH-ADL Retrieved 12 September 2016
  26. ^ Douglas DC-2 A30-9 VH-CRK Retrieved 12 September 2016
  27. ^ Douglas DC-3 VH-ANH (VHCDJ) Retrieved 12 September 2016
  28. ^ Vickers Viscount V.816 VH-TVR Retrieved 12 September 2016
  29. ^ Auster J-1B Aiglet VH-ACY Retrieved 12 September 2016
  30. ^ British Aircraft Swallow II VH-UUM Retrieved 12 September 2016
  31. ^ Cessna 310 VH-AER Retrieved 12 September 2016
  32. ^ de Havilland DH114 Heron Retrieved 12 September 2016
  33. ^ de Havilland DH60 Gipsy Moth VH-UKV Retrieved 12 September 2016
  34. ^ Desoutter II s/n D.35 VH-UPR Retrieved 12 September 2016
  35. ^ Duigan 1910 Pusher Flyer Replica VH-DGN Retrieved 12 September 2016
  36. ^ Percival Proctor 1 VH-AUC Retrieved 12 September 2016
  37. ^ Boeing 737
  38. ^ MUSEUM ACQUIRES EX KANGAN TAFE 737 COCKPIT Retrieved 16 September 2016
  39. ^ Victa Airtourer 100 Retrieved 12 September 2016
  40. ^ SURPRISE ARRIVAL AT MUSEUM - GAF NOMAD DONATED! Retrieved 16 September 2016


  • Goodall, Geoff (2008). Warbirds Directory. Australia: Geoff Goodall. (CD-ROM)
  • Ogden, Bob (2008). Aviation Museums and Collections of The Rest of the World. UK: Air-Britain. ISBN 978-0-85130-394-9.