Whizz-bang sights revealed - for one day only

Australian War Memorial's unseen collection open for first time in years

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ONE DAY ONLY: Take a peek at the refurbished Treloar Technology Centre, where the memorial stores the bulk of its vast collection. Photo: Fiona Silsby

ONE DAY ONLY: Take a peek at the refurbished Treloar Technology Centre, where the memorial stores the bulk of its vast collection. Photo: Fiona Silsby

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Aircraft, rockets, vehicles, artillery and more a sight for curious eyes as the Australian War Memorial opens its unseen collection for the first time in years.

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FANS of military equipment can get a behind-the-scenes look at the Australian War Memorial's storage facility for one day only.

The memorial is opening the doors of its newly upgraded Mitchell storage facility to the public on October 5.

Big things in store allows visitors a sneak peak at the memorial's extensive collection of aircraft, rockets, vehicles, artillery, and equipment used by - or against - Australians for more than a century of conflict and peacekeeping activities.

The open day will also give visitors a close look at the RF-111C aircraft, a new addition to the memorial's collection, and a major piece of Australian aviation history.

This is first time since 2016 that visitors will have access to the Treloar Technology Centre, where the memorial stores the bulk of its vast collection, including a number of artillery pieces dating from the mid-1870s, as well as many larger objects manufactured in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Around 7000 items are stored in the warehouse. Highlights include a Renault FT-17 and a battle-damaged Bushmaster protected mobility vehicle used in Afghanistan. Significant relics from World War II include a Japanese Ha-Go tank and Shinyo suicide launch.

SEND IN THE ARTILLERY: Memorial curators will be on hand to discuss the stories behind the objects on display. Photo: Fiona Silsby

SEND IN THE ARTILLERY: Memorial curators will be on hand to discuss the stories behind the objects on display. Photo: Fiona Silsby

Aircraft include a Tachikawa K-54 "Hickory" flown by the Japanese delegation to surrender their forces at Labuan in 1945, a Chinook helicopter damaged by enemy fire in Afghanistan and a Douglas C-47B Dakota used to carry the body of prime minister John Curtin to Perth for his funeral.

The RAAF RF-111C A8-134 aircraft is the only remaining RF-111C that participated in missions over East Timor (Timor-Leste) in 1999. It has the greatest operational provenance of the preserved Australian F-111 fleet.

Memorial Director Dr Brendan Nelson said the aircraft proved an invaluable, much loved, and respected part of the Royal Australian Air Force and its service to the nation.

"This aircraft type flew with the United States Air Force in Vietnam, conducted air strikes against Libya in 1986, and participated in the Gulf War.

"The F-111 was the world's first production variable-geometry wing aircraft, which enables it to change its shape during flight. It was an all-weather supersonic attack aircraft, capable of flying at more than twice the speed of sound at a high altitude," Dr Nelson said.

From late 2020, it and other large aircraft including Lancaster "G for George" will be on public display.

The event will be run by memorial curators, who will be on hand to discuss the stories behind the objects on display.

Big things in store, October 5,AWM Treloar Technology Centre, Callan Street, Mitchell; 10am-3pm. Entry is via donation.

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