The RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in military aviation, and the Centre promotes links between the community and the defence forces. The Heritage Centre allows a close up look at the aircraft that forged our military history.
There’s a World War II Boston Bomber, the wreckage of which was extricated from the jungles of Papua New Guinea and brought back to Australia to be fully restored at the Amberley Restoration Centre – even down to the ‘combat patches’ on the airframe skin to repair bullet holes.
A controversial era of Australian military history, the Vietnam War, is represented by a Canberra bomber of the type that flew bombing missions out of Phan Rang in South Vietnam 1967 to 1971 with No 2 Squadron. Also of that Vietnam War era is a DHC-4 Caribou tactical airlifter, which served at Vung Tau, South Vietnam as part of RAAF Transport Flight, nicknamed ‘Wallaby Airlines’. Caribou crews of 35 Squadron flew missions from the air base at Vung Tau, South Vietnam.
Other aircraft types include the CAC Sabre and the Mirage IIIO fighter jets. Sabre jets undertook ground attack sorties against communist insurgents in Malaya during the Malayan Emergency, and were the first RAAF combat elements to be stationed at Air Base Butterworth, Malaysia – replaced by Mirage IIIO of No 75 Squadron RAAF (1967-1983).
In the modern era, the F-111 aircraft provided the primary strike capability for Australia, with its massive bomb carrying capability, flying range and the photographic reconnaissance capability of four of the jets. The public perception of the F-111 centred mostly on its famous ‘dump and burn’ flypast at airshows and other events.
Also on display are Australian Army Pilatus Porter, Sioux and Iroquois helicopters, and even an immaculate World War II Jeep.
The Heritage Centre is housed in four hangars and is growing constantly. Check on the next free public open day on 1800 623 305 or visit www.raafamberleyheritage.gov.au. Members of the public aged 16 years and over must provide photographic identification.