Some museums tend to be quite ordered with very specific displays, while others tend to just throw a random collection of items into some large rooms that have some vague connection with each other and tend to focus on completion as opposed to order. The South Australian Aviation Museum tends to be the second type of museum. Don't get me wrong, everything in this museum has some connection with aircraft and the aviation industry, but my first impression when I stepped into the hanger was: where do I start?
|They've managed to cram quite a lot of planes in here|
Don't get me wrong, as soon as we walked in through the door my friend, who works in the industry, immediately whipped out his mobile phone and began to take so many photographs that he literally drained all of the battery power - and we were only in here for about an hour and a half. However, as you can see from the above photograph, there are quite a few planes in here, both military and civilian. Unlike the Classic Jet Fighter Museum at Parafield Airport, this museum tries to encompass all manner of aircraft across the whole spectrum of aviation history.
Anyway, here is where you can find the museum:
Okay, it can be a little difficult to locate (and we did spend about fifteen minutes driving around the back streets of Port Adelaide, though we were looking for a rear entrance (which didn't actually exist) before we found the entrance behind the train museum and crossed the old railway yards to a large hanger in the middle of an empty paddock. Okay, there are signs pointing to it, however, as I suggested, we were looking for the rear entrance that in the end didn't exist (or if it did it required four-wheel drive access - so I was not keen on taking my Dad's car along that route).
|Despite it's size, it is easy to miss.|
Apparently the hanger itself is also an exhibit, which I found a little odd because I don't ever remember there being an airport around this part of Adelaide (but then again it could have been moved, or the airport could have been here way before my time - but I am probably not in a position to speculate). The other thing about this museum is that they have an F-111, which they have proudly on display not only in the hanger but on the numerous signs leading to the museum, as well as on the website.
Anyway, here it is:
|So, now you have seen it.|
|Don't look all that impressive|
|I hope they keep the engines off|
Anyway, you would be forgiven to think that the only thing of interest in this place is the F-111 (though it is still a major draw card) but there are actually quite a few other aircraft here was well. Okay, unlike the Classic Jet Fighter Museum, you can't climb into many of the cockpits (actually I believe there was only one cockpit you could climb into), but you can climb aboard a few of the planes (just not the F-111, in case you decide to start the engines and steal it). For instance, there is the Seahawk Helicopter:
|I couldn't get it to fly|
Another plane that we climbed aboard looked like a scientific research plane, or it could have been a military reconnaissance plane, I really wasn't sure, but it did have some large 1950s (or 60s, or even 70s) computers inside. This is what the plane looked like from the outside.
|Those propellers suggest that it is somewhat obsolete|
|My laptop is more powerful than those things|
So, moving on from that last overtly political statement (apologies to any scientists that may actually be reading this) the museum had more than just military planes - they also had civilian planes. Okay, the hanger certainly wasn't large enough to house an actual Boeing 747, so they had to resort to models, such as these:
|I'm sure Ansett still have a few planes lying about|
|Though it looks like they closed the door on the tail|
|Its been a long time since they made propellers like this|
|Unfortunately it won't fit in my car|
|It probably remembers World War I|
|It probably was the star attraction before the F-111|
|They wouldn't let me shoot off the machine guns|
|Now I know how Luke Skywalker felt|
|Though it was hidden in a back alcove|
|Looks like the contents of a box in my back shed|
|The original predator drone|
Before I forget, I here is the video of the 747 landing at Woolongong:
One of the many videos of this particular event
This post also appears on my travel blog
South Australian Aviation Musuem - Adelaide's other plane museum by David Sarkies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you wish to use this work commercially please feel free to contact me.