The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Museum is located at RAAF Base Point Cook, only 30km from Melbourne CBD. Point Cook is the birthplace of the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) and RAAF in 1921. RAAF Base Point Cook was the RAAF’s inaugural base from 1912 to 1925, when RAAF Base Richmond and RAAF Base Laverton were built. To date RAAF Base Point Cook remains the world’s oldest continually operating military aerodrome.
The RAAF Museum was established at Point Cook in 1952 following a proposal by the then Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sir George Jones. At that time little consideration was given to a formal display open to public viewing, or even to formal museological operations such as interpretation, conservation and research, rather the Museum was simply a collection agency and repository for items of historic significance such as log books, uniforms, technical equipment, aircraft and other memorabilia.
Today, the RAAF Museum’s mission is to preserve and promote Australia’s significant military aviation heritage, paying tribute to the history of the AFC and RAAF, and all who served, through its extensive collection of artefacts. Throughout the Museum precinct, visitors can experience Australia’s Air Force in fascinating detail through the interpretation of items of memorabilia and beautifully preserved aircraft, all at RAAF Base Point Cook. Through the Heritage Galleries visitors can follow highlights of AFC and RAAF history, as well as the captivating stories of past deeds of those who have served our nation, giving visitors an understanding of the rich history and traditions of this arm of the Australian Defence Force.
The Museum’s Heritage Gallery provides the opportunity for visitors to be taken through time from World War I through to the RAAF’s peacekeeping and civil aid missions and to the present day. Moving through to the display hangars, over thirty historical aircraft are presented from the entire 100-year history of the RAAF.
Viewed within the Museum’s original Bellman hangars, aircraft such as charming World War I flying machines made from wood, wire and fabric can be experienced up close, through to the more modern and technically sophisticated multi-million dollar aircraft, providing our visitors with a window into the development of military aviation which was expedited by the considerable pace of technological development through the twentieth century. Through periods of war and peace, advances in airframe design and materials, aerodynamics, engines, electronics and weapon systems have transformed aircraft from an interesting curiosity to a vital component of national security and power.
Significantly, many of these major leaps in capability occurred during World Wars I and II when aviation was at the pinnacle of scientific and industrial development. Technologies such as the advent of the jet engine and the development of radar, have flowed on to benefit civil aviation and shaped the modern world. The aircraft and supporting technical equipment on static display also demonstrate that evolution of modern aviation, through some of the most significant periods in the history of Australian military history.
Aircraft on static display throughout the Museum precinct include the 1915 Maurice Farman Shorthorn, Tiger Moth, Boston, Jindivik, Iroquois helicopter, F-4E Phantom, F-111G Boneyard Wrangler, Catalina and Walrus amphibians and many more. The Museum also provides visitors the opportunity to purchase aircraft models, books, patches and similar aviation related mementos of their visit.
While the Air Force Centenary Commemorations have been designed around a digital campaign, with COVID-19 restrictions easing, a trip to the RAAF Museum allows visitors to experience a physical representation of Air Force’s history over the past 100 years.
Commemoration of the Royal Australian Air Force’s formation in March 1921 and further information about official activities may be obtained at www.airforce.gov.au/100
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, visitors are requested to check the RAAF Museum website for opening details https://www.airforce.gov.au/raaf-museum