Disassembly of 1959 Millicer Air Tourer Mk1 at Fleet Air Arm Museum
Image: Elaine Mival
Source: Museum Victoria
Earlier this month, six museum staff members drove to Nowra on the south coast of New South Wales to dismantle, pack and transport a number of large items from the Fleet Air Arm Museum at the end of a seven-year loan. It took four days and five freight trucks to get the objects on the move.
Among the cargo were two whole aeroplanes, three aero engines, a fuselage, an instrument panel, a jumbo jet wheel and a model of a Fairey IIID seaplane. The model was commissioned in 1926 to mark the first aerial circumnavigation of Australia in a Fairey IIID two years prior. A third aircraft, a Lockheed, went directly to the Historical Aviation Restoration Society in Illawarra on loan.
Curator of Engineering, David Crotty, was among the team diassembling the planes for their journey home. In the case of the Wirraway, this was a straightforward task since these military aeroplanes came with instruction books because they were made to be transported to war zones. “It’s all held together with nuts, bolts and screws,” said David. “It’s time-consuming but that’s all it is. They’re old-fashioned imperial sizes that are hard to replace, so we did lots of bagging and tagging.” David’s years of experience in aviation museums – including stints at the RAAF Museum and the Australian War Memorial – helped with disassembly of the other planes.
This year marks the centenary of the first flight in Australia, made in 1910 by John Duigan in Mia Mia, Central Victoria. The museum is planning a number of events to celebrate, including the release of a new book by David Crotty about John Duigan. On 18 March, the Wright aero engine brought back from Nowra will go on display at Scienceworks.