by Phil Buckley
The Fighterworld Museum, located beside RAAF Base Williamtown near Newcastle on the coast of New South Wales, Australia has undergone some changes during the past year, with a new workshop building to the north now beginning to fill up with tools and other resources. This movement will enable Hangar 2 to become a more useful display space for the growing FighterWorld collection.
The collection itself has undergone changes too, with about half of the exhibits moving between the main hangar and into the workshop hangar or temporarily outside. This has created some new photographic opportunities and provided a different visual impact for visitors.
The museum has recently created a special RAAF 100th anniversary display with the replica No.4 Squadron (AFC) Sopwith Camel, the No.4 Flight CAC Winjeel and a No.4 Squadron Pilatus PC-9/A Forward Air Controller (FAC) now all being in the front of the main hangar layout space. The marvelous recreation of WWI aircraft has enabled the filling of an important gap in the museum’s prior collection, which can now be told to visitors.
New pilot simulators/cockpit sections are now on display with the PC-9/A and CT-4B Airtrainer allowing the public to have an up-close look at (relatively) modern training systems.
A nearly finalized project is the rework of the replica Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII. The total rebuild of this exhibit enabled the repair of its previously sagging wings, and it now sports an WWII-era RAAF camouflage scheme of foliage green over light grey undersides. Previously, the replica wore the standard RAAF Spitfire green-grey camouflage.
A revised setup of the aircraft model display cases has provided a wonderful chance to see how the RAAF has evolved over the years. It is worth spending some time to admire the great effort which has gone into some of these models.
Long-term plans are still under discussion regarding museum site expansion to enable a more spacious display in new buildings, but this is reliant on the requested land becoming available and funding allocation for building construction. These expansion plans have been around for a few years, recognizing that the museum does indeed require more space to properly display its collection. There are also long-term plans to expand the collection of display aircraft to include more WWII-era RAAF aircraft, but again, these desires remain contingent on funding, airframe availability, and volunteer efforts. That being said, a special WWII aircraft may be visiting the site later this year, along with a replica WWII fighter to help recreate the atmosphere of that period.
Be sure to visit Fighterworld online at https://www.fighterworld.com.a