Queensland Air Museum
Mission Statement



A Brief History of the
Queensland Air Museum

Queensland Air Museum had its beginnings in 1973 when a group of aviation enthusiasts who comprised the Queensland Branch of the Aviation Historical Society of Australia decided to "put their money where their mouths were" and do something about preserving Australia's aviation heritage by purchasing a Canberra bomber. The fact that the fledgling museum had no suitable site to display such an aircraft was not allowed to stand in the way of their enthusiasm!

As a result of the considerable media publicity which followed, the Canberra was moved to the new "Pioneer Valley Park" horse-drawn vehicle museum at Kuraby where it was placed on display at the invitation of the Hunter family. The Canberra was officially unveiled on 2nd June 1974 thus inaugurating the Queensland Air Museum.

Almost exactly one year later, the collection doubled in size with the arrival of Meteor WD647. The Museum's second aircraft acquisition was in complete contrast to the first in that it was an outright gift from the British Government, whereas the Canberra had to be purchased from the Australian Government. The Meteor was destined never to join the Canberra at Kuraby, for sadly "Pioneer Valley Park" closed, and QAM found itself thrust into a nomadic existence which was to last for another 10 years! It is a lasting tribute to the members involved that the Museum survived the tribulations that followed.

In May 1977, the Canberra was moved to a leased site at Lower Nudgee where it was later joined by the Meteor, Sea Venoms WZ910 and WZ898 and Vampire A79-828. With the development of the new Brisbane Airport floodway, QAM had to go, and after much anguish and lobbying, the aircraft were moved to a "temporary holding area" on Brisbane Airport in April 1980. During QAM's occupancy of this site, the Canberra featured in a much-publicised extortion attempt against Trans-Australia Airlines. Although local Department of Aviation officials were sympathetic towards QAM, the Minister of the day had an apparent personal vendetta against the Museum and exorbitant rental demands effectively led to QAM's eviction from Brisbane Airport.

The resultant publicity came to the attention of Landsborough Shire Councillor, John Harrison, who persuaded the Council to facilitate QAM's relocation to Caloundra. The offer of a modern hangar type building on Caloundra Aerodrome was too good to refuse, and the Canberra, Meteor and two Sea Venoms were transported to Caloundra on 14 June 1986. By this time, only the Meteor was ready for display, so a band of local volunteer members set about preparing the collection for an opening ceremony on 4 April 1987. The fact that a respectable display was ready on schedule is a tribute to the members involved. The official opening of the Museum was performed by Mrs. Ly Bennett, wife of the late Air Vice-Marshal Don Bennett of "Pathfinder" fame who had been QAM Patron until his death in September 1986. Ly Bennett graciously agreed to assume the role of her late husband until her own death in October 2000. The road leading to the Museum has been officially named Pathfinder Drive in honour of the Pathfinder Force founded by Don Bennett.

A second, much larger display building (Hangar 2) was officially unveiled on 3 July 2004.

An extension to Hangar 2, The Allan Vial Path Finder Force Annexe was officially unveiled on 16 August 2006.

In September 2006, Mr Allan Vial, DFC OAM OPR (Pol), Life President of the Path Finder Force Association in Australia graciously agreed to become Patron of QAM.

On 17 May 2008, Hangar 2 was officially named as The Dick Hitchins Memorial Hangar in memory of QAM's founding President.

QAM's library storage building was officially named The Dunoon Building on 5 November 2008 by QAM's Patron Allan Vial.



The traditional landowners of the Sunshine Coast region are
the Gubbi Gubbi people.

(These images are linked to larger versions)
















Looking Back

Where we've been


The Business

The Queensland Air Museum Inc was formed as a not-for-profit society in June 1974. Initially incorporated under Letters Patent, QAM was re-incorporated under the Queensland Associations Incorporation Act 1981 Section 17 on 2nd April 1998 (Incorporation Number IA19198).

QAM operates to a constitution approved by the Queensland Department of Fair Trading.

The Museum is registered for GST (ABN 88 760 302 357).

Donations to QAM in excess of $2.00 are allowable deductions for taxation purposes.

Financial accounts are audited annually by an approved auditor.

Membership is open to anyone with an interest in aviation. The volunteer members bring to the Museum a wide range of skills in business administration, aircraft maintenance and various trades. There are no paid staff.

Nothing in the QAM collection is owned by an individual member. The entire collection is deemed to be held in trust for the community.

The Museum attracts visitors from all states of Australia and from overseas. Annual visitation recently reached 12,000.

QAM is an approved recipient institution under the Commonwealth Government's Cultural Gifts Programme.

QAM's bank details are:

Queensland Air Museum Inc
Bendigo Bank
BSB 633108
Account No. 149594467

(Please state clearly in the reference what the payment is for)

ABN 88 760 302 357