Home' Air Force News : March 31st 2011 Contents RCE
90TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL
March 31, 2011
holds the keys
to our history
More than 120,000 visitors last year saw some of
the 50 aircraft and thousands of other items in the
museum's collection of treasures
CPL AARON CURRAN
MUCH TO SEE: The museum's full-time and volunteer staff do
extensive research and restoration in order to tell the story.
Photo: CPL Aaron Curran
90 years of service
Congratulations to the Royal Australian Air Force.
We look forward to supporting you for many years
gines: Two Pratt and Whitney Twin Wasp
mbat range: 2414km
d: 27 passengers, cargo
THE RAAF Museum at Point Cook
has become the public showpiece
of the Air Force and its 90 years of
More than 120,000 visitors
toured the museum last year, seeing
the many hangars and displays cov-
ering all aspects of the Air Force and
Museum director David Gardner
said there was no public display
when the museum began in 1949,
only a repository for items of histori-
"Since those days it has under-
gone a dramatic change," Mr
"It went from a display where
things were just shovelled into dis-
play cases to having a more modern
and professional look."
In 1986 the Air Force identified the
need for a more professional operation
and management of the museum, and
appointed a SQNLDR OIC, curator
and assistant curator. The museum has
grown since that time and now has 22
"The curator was a posting for
an Any Airman WOFF," Mr Gardner
said. "Back then I thought a curator
was the person who cut grass at the
MCG. I found that this was not so."
He has held the position of cura-
tor since 1986.
The museum is careful in accept-
ing items for display because of
space constraints. It has 60 aircraft
and thousands of other items in its
"We don't go overboard and col-
"We only acquire items which
are historically significant. But
everything that comes into the
museum is treated with equal
reverence, from an F-111 to a
The museum has many
treasures which are not on
public display, including a
registration area and library
preserving priceless negatives
"It is not quantity that makes
a museum, but quality and the
story you tell," Mr Gardner said.
"The Air Force has an obli-
gation to its own to preserve its
heritage and that is where we
come into it. We are in the busi-
ness of eternity."
Mr Gardner said that because
the museum was now part of the
Air Force, it received an annual
budget to carry out the preserva-
tion of its collection items.
"In the past we begged and
borrowed. We were experts at it."
When he mentions 'we', he
is also talking about a wider
staff pool, which includes 110
volunteers who give up their
time and skills to keep the muse-
"They do research, guided
tours, restoration, engineering
and work as host officers," he
PRESERVING THE PAST: "The
Air Force has an obligation to its
own to preserve its heritage and
that is where we come into it."
Photo: CPL Aaron Curran
Point Cook 's humble
beginnings in 1913
AS THE birthplace of the Air Force,
and the world's oldest continually-
operating military airfield, RAAF
Base Point Cook had a relatively
When the Australian Flying
Corps (AFC) was established, 734
acres of grazing land were purchased
at Point Cook for £6000, and the
Central Flying School (CFS) opened
on March 7, 1913.
The first flying training course
began on August 17 with four stu-
The aircraft 'fleet' comprised two
B.E.-2a reconnaissance aircraft, two
Deperdussin trainers and a Bristol
After WWI, the AFC was dis-
banded and its original replace-
ment, the Australian Air Corps, was
responsible for operating the CFS.
Things started to move in March
1921 with the establishment of the
Australian Air Force (later RAAF).
The CFS became RAAF Station Point
Cook and was disbanded. In its place
was No 1 Flying Training School
(1FTS) and No 1 Aircraft Depot.
In 1947 the RAAF College was
formed, which became the RAAF
academy in 1961. Also important
was the RAAF Staff College, which
arrived in 1949.
The academy shut in 1986, with
students going to the newly formed
ADFA in Canberra. However, the
college (which relocated to RAAF
Base East Sale and was renamed
Officers' Training School) was reo-
1FTS closed in 1993.
In 1999, Point Cook and nearby
RAAF Base Laverton came under
the umbrella of RAAF Base
Williams and, today, continues to
function as a training complex, as
well as being home to the RAAF
Museum and the Air Force Band.
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