The Australian War Memorial is displaying a fully-restored Royal Australian Air Force Lockheed Hudson bomber at Canberra Airport as part of efforts to raise awareness about the institution.
Hudson A16-105 made its first flight in 1938 and has been restored to its wartime configuration of December 1942.
Acquired by the AWM in 2001, A16-105’s subsequent restoration took four years to complete and featured more than 5,800 parts and tools, as well as hours of research on the colour scheme and internal fitout.
Getting the aircraft positioned on display inside the terminal was a collaboration between Canberra Airport, Virgin Australia and the Australian War Memorial.
Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson noted the aircraft, which is now situated on the departures level near the Virgin checkin counters, had both a military and commercial history.
“This Hudson bomber and the brave young men who flew it during the dark days of the Second World War defended our nation’s freedoms and vital interests. The aircraft then played its part in expanding commercial aviation in the post-war era,” Dr Nelson said.
It would also help raise awareness of the Australian War Memorial.
Virgin chief executive John Borghetti said the airline’s contribution to the project was part of the airline group’s efforts to commemorate Australia’s armed forces.
“We are very proud to support the display of the Hudson aircraft at Canberra Airport, which is a unique opportunity for people travelling to and from our nation’s capital to engage with an important part of Australian history and remember those who have served,” Borghetti said in a statement.
Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron said: “Our efforts to promote the Memorial’s work dovetails with our commitment to consistently promote all the wonderful things that our city has to offer.”
The aircraft’s display was also welcomed by Raydon Gates, chief executive of Lockheed Martin Australia.
“The Hudson made an important contribution to Australia’s defence during the Second World War, and this installation serves as an important reminder that the relative peace and prosperity we enjoy today as a nation was hard earned,” he said.
Lockheed Martin Australia is a benefactor of the Australian War Memorial.
Canberra Airport’s photographer captured some of the highlights from the official unveiling ceremony: