HISTORY OF THE MUSEUM
OF AUSTRALIAN ARMY FLYING
The museum began its humble beginning in a single room
at the Army Aviation Base back in the mid 1980’s with Terry
Egan as the curator.
In the beginning the museum didn’t really have any
aircraft however, there were a number of aircraft at Oakey
‘strategically located’ that were a valuable part of the Army
Aviation Corps History and these aircraft formed the foundation for what
is now the museum.
Those aircraft included:
A Cessna 180, A98-045, three Bell 47 Sioux, A1-568,
-720 and -738, and an O1-G Bird Dog – Bunny II.
Except for the Sioux, A1-568, these aircraft were ex
161 Recce Flt Vietnam aircraft and they are now a very important part of
the museum collection.
Due to the efforts of Terry Egan, the museum eventually
obtained a hangar to store the aircraft in and Len Avery became the
In 1988, Barry Bawden began casual work within the
museum under the guidance of Len Avery and has expanded his involvement
to include the ongoing operation of the museum on a daily basis.
On 01 July 1989, the museum was officially opened by
the Honorary Colonel, Colonel Ross Harding (Retd).
During the following years, the museum expanded to
include four hangars and a memorabilia room.
Brian Reardon took over as the curator of the museum on
01 February 1991, while Jim Hayne became the Maintenance Supervisor.
In 1996, Helen Bawden became the Secretary for the
Museum Board of Management and the Administrative Secretary for the
In August 2005, the
museum moved into a new purpose-built facility on the airfield at Oakey
and opened for business on the 02 September 2005 with Brian Reardon
still the curator and Bob Turl coming online as the Maintenance
The new museum complex was officially opened on 02 September
2005 by local MP Ian McFarlane.
Major Barry Skinner became the Manager of the Museum on
08 March 2006, while WO1 Paul Schrodter was posted into the position of
Administrator on 29 January 2006.
From its humble beginning the museum has continued to
grow and now has 15 aircraft on display within the museum and a number
of aircraft undergoing restoration and in storage.
In addition to the 161 Recce Flt aircraft listed above,
the museum also has on display a Pilatus Porter PC6 (A14-652) and when
available a Bell Kiowa is displayed, thus representing all the aircraft
that 161 (Indep) Recce Flt flew whilst in Vietnam.
There are also a number of displays within the museum
that feature memorabilia from within the 161 Recce Flt Collection, while
a number of 161 members have donated memorabilia to the museum.
Eventually, all of the 161 Recce Assoc History and
Collection will be donated to the Museum of Australian Army Flying.
The purpose of the museum is to preserve the history of
Army Aviation and that includes the history of 161 Recce Flt.
Members of the 161 Recce Assoc have been, and are
currently involved in, the ongoing management and operation of the
We would strongly recommend a visit to the museum. We
also encourage you to become members of the museum to support and
promote the museum in the future.
Avery congratulating Terry Egan
AVIATOR OF THE YEAR
Terry J. Egan DCM – AAAvn
The Brigadier M.B. Simkin Trophy for the Army Aviator of the year - 1990
was awarded to Warrant Officer Class Two -
Terry John Egan, DCM.
Unfortunately a copy of the citation which accompanied the
recommendation for the award has not been obtained as yet; however, a
summary of the text of the citation is as follows:
Officer Terry John Egan DCM joined the Army Reserve in May 1954,
commenced Army Reserve full time duty in June 1965, transferred to the
Australian Regular Army in January 1969 until retiring in February 1986.
He continued in the Army Reserve with 25 RQR for another year before
returning to the Emergency Reserve for 18 months. He returned to Army
Reserve full time duty in July 1989 - thirty six years of
postings have included QUR, AATTV, Papua New Guinea, 1 RAR, Army
Apprentices School, ASIT, School of Army Aviation, and 1st Aviation
served his country with distinction in South Vietnam as part of the
Australian Army Training Team, being awarded the Distinguished Conduct
Medal, the South Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star twice
and the Vietnamese Army Medal of Honour.
Officer Egan has throughout his career displayed considerable loyalty to
Corps, none more so than to Army Aviation. He has a sense of history and
a desire to preserve that which we all too often take for granted. To
that end he has devoted his time to the preservation and presentation of
our Corps history in the Museum of Australian Army Flying. Since
retiring in 1986, and returning to full time duty in 1989, he has been
the driving force behind the Museum.
early 1987 the Museum of Australian Army Flying (MAAF) Committee
convinced Warrant Officer Egan to accept the appointment of Honorary
Curator. In taking up the appointment, Warrant Officer Egan accepted
responsibility to establish a Museum display. A room, located in the HQ
Army Aviation Centre building, full of crated, un-catalogued items of
memorabilia earlier donated to the MAAF and five aircraft of historical
significance located in various hangars throughout the Army Aviation
Centre was his starting point. He soon found the display had created so
much interest that the increasing collection was rapidly outgrowing the
small area allocated to him. He appreciated the urgent need of a larger,
permanent display so located as to allow access by the general public
and capable of being self-funded by donations and admission fees.
August 1988, he recommenced ‘A Res’ full-time duty and was
appointed Curator of the MAAF. Despite many frustrations Warrant Officer
Egan kept his goal insight. During the following twelve months he worked
tirelessly to relocate an old, unused building from 171 Command and
Liaison Squadron to an area adjacent to the Oakey Workshop Battalion
attrition hangars yet within the confines of the base secure area. This
afforded him the required security and a display area for both
memorabilia and aircraft, while allowing the general public access to
set about affecting a PR programme to inform the general public that the
MAAF was now established. His success in this area is evidenced by the
offers he has received from other enthusiasts wishing to either donate
or loan aircraft and memorabilia for display in the museum.
highlight was the donation of a replica of the first Army aeroplane, a
Bristol Boxkite, by Mr Cliff Douglas in November 1989. The acquisition
of this aircraft has proved the culmination of Warrant Officer Egan's
objective to establish the MAAF as a major tourist attraction on the
Darling Downs. Warrant Officer Egan is well-known and respected
among fellow curators in Australia. So much so that he is continually
invited to offer advice and assistance to other like Museums throughout
suffering ill health, due in part to his hard work for the Corps, he
perseveres in what has become the desire to achieve a dream. In the
years to come, the Museum of Australian Army Flying will be a showpiece
that every Army Aviator will be proud to claim as his own. This physical
symbol of our past and present would still be a good idea, rather than a
practical reality if it were not for Warrant Officer Egan's
dedication and loyalty to the Army Aviation Corps should be a model for
all to follow.