Edgar Johnston Lane, Essendon Airport, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
The Airways Museum may be unique among the world’s aviation museums. Its focus is on the preservation and display of historical electronic equipment association with the development of Australian civil aviation rather than aircraft.
This museum is administered by the Civil Aviation Historical Society, a volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation of the history of the administration of Australia’s civil aviation. As a result the museum also contains items related more generally to that area of interest and has a library, archives and research facilities about the Australia’s Department of Civil Aviation, its predecessors and successors.
The Airways Museum and the Civil Aviation Historical Society facilities are located in the basement of a building in Edgar Johnston Lane at Essendon Airport. The museum is open on Tuesdays from 10am. It has a website and facebook page.
The entrance to the museum is an anonymous door in the wall of one of the large hangar buildings at the airport.
The murals that greet you in the entrance hall were painted for the civil aviation administration’s office in Canberra and were later relocated here. They tell the story of the administration of civil aviation in Australia with depiction of many of the people and aircraft of significance in that history.
The display area of the Airways Museum is large, open and well lit. It is organized roughly chronologically and by the functions of the equipment on display.
The main difficulty most visitors will have is that, to the eyes of those not familiar with large boxes of electronic equipment, they look roughly the same and quickly become uninteresting. This means that the historical significance and the technical innovations illustrated by the exhibits are not immediately evident. There is some placarding on some of the equipment but often the complexities of the description will mean nothing to the layperson.
However, the Museum has prepared an extensive website of most of the items on display. To gain a much more satisfying experience as a visitor it would be best to view the items on display with a mobile phone or tablet in hand linked to the Museum’s website to see and read the detailed descriptions of the artifacts in the display area.
The link to the Museum’s extensive display information is found HERE. Then click on MUSEUM in the menu and then ‘welcome to the tour’.
The following images give a more general impression of the extensive and interesting range of items on display in the Airways Museum. You can see more detailed information on some of the items on the Museum’s on-line tour.
In addition, the Museum has on display a range of artefacts representing the history of the Department of Civil Aviation and its predecessors and successors. The most obvious of these is the telephone switchboard which was located in Henty House, the headquarters of the Department of Civil Aviation for many years.
The Airways Museum has a theaterette, meeting area, library and archive.
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BEHIND THE SCENES
The Airways Museum has work spaces and administrative areas for its volunteer staff.
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