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Old 14th Mar 2009, 09:41   #1 (permalink)
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Thumbs down The tatty old RAAF planes sit sadly at Point Cook

Friend of mine and wife visited RAAF Point Cook today. Sign at guard gate says stay in your car until a security honcho walks over. Big line of cars lined up but no security man. Long wait and no one appears. Friend gets out of car walks across the five metres to security hut and Chubb security bloke with big wide brimmed hat growls at him and says "Mate" can't you read the sign" and points at sign which says stay in car until called. Security guard says Point Cook on Amber Alert. Friend thought, Christ - terrorist attack maybe? What the stuff is an Amber Alert? Is that one notch below Red or Green or Pink Alert?

No so. Amber Alert means one RAAF aircraft in the circuit for landing! Friend finally signs the visitors register and drives down the road to Museum area. Sees a dirty looking HS 748 outside static display with what appears to be green stuff over it - maybe salt water from southerly wind from sea but it looked pretty tatty. Hercules on static display for years and one of its tyres flat and obviously neglected. Mirage seen on a parade ground near the guard gate. It has a dirty brown sun shade over it. Usless place to have a Mirage almost out of sight of the public and even if you see it no one allowed to have a closer look.

Media reports a Caribou is going to be donated to Point Cook for a static display. What a waste of a good aeroplane. The static display former RAAF aircraft are a disgrace. They are covered in grime from the elements and seem never to get washed. The RAAF top brass have obviously no interest in keeping the aircraft cleaned and one wonders who is ultimately responsible for this run-down operation. The rudeness of the civilian security guards at the entrance to the base is well known and this information comes from museum staff who get complaints from spectators. Despite lots of visitors you can't even get a coffee or fast food. Been like that for years.

RAAF Base Point Cook has a long and proud history yet overseas visitors must shake their heads in amazement when they see how run down and tatty the outside exhibits have been allowed to become. The Commanding Officer of the base has a lot to answer for.
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Old 14th Mar 2009, 13:02   #2 (permalink)
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Mate, couldn't agree more about the rude bloke on the gate, he has some issues and I suggest your friend write to the base commander to complain... more complaints, more likely he is to get the flick.

As for the a/c. Did you friend actually go into the Museum itself or did s/he just drive around?

Check this out RAAF Museum: 360deg Views

The museum has a fantastic display of some very beautiful A/C. The ones you are referring to are covered in a protective rubber 'paint' which will stop corrosion and protect them until a new hangar/display area can be built.

Yes they look crappy, but under the rubber, they should be holding up.

The reason they are out there is that the previous government was planning on selling Point Cook for a number of years, however for a variety of reason the sale didn't go ahead. The base now remains in Defence hands.

Throughout the period of 'uncertainty' nothing was done for the upkeep of the base. When it was decided to remain in hands of Defence, money was spent (RWY lights, surface work, taxy ways, hard stand).

There are plans to spend considerable sums of money to create a purpose built display area covering at least two hangars, so that far more aircraft can be displayed.

Also, don't forget to go there on Tue/Thur/Sun at 1300 for a flying display by a museum aircraft.

Remember, all this is 30 minutes from Melbourne and is FREE!

Hope your friend go's back and has a good look around, I'm sure they'll enjoy it
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Old 14th Mar 2009, 20:59   #3 (permalink)
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Yes Fanelli - give it a rest, you're issue is boring.

Went to Pt Cook not long ago and loved the museum. It was excellent.

As soon as the aircraft can come in from outside that will be great.

How about opening up the North-Eastern side of the field to civilian operators for hangar construction etc (to enable private owners to escape pricey Moorabbin) and thus allow more $ to flow in to keeping-up the Museum? And what about a small seaplane facility on the Eastern shores of Pt Cook airfield?

Whilst the encroaching housing could be an issue, overwater arrivals and departures would help mitigate this. Pt Cook could be an exciting airfield if a little imagination was used.

Renovating the ex-officers quarters for use by Airline cadets might be a worthwhile excercise too. They could then train entirely at Pt Cook at an integrated facility.
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 03:01   #4 (permalink)
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Base commanders were not to blame for a lack of funding ....the political games of SELL/KEEP over the years meant the base was slowing going to pot until recently. Within Dept PM Julia's electorate and with the battle won to keep PCK (and keep the housing developers at bay), monies are being spent but there is much to fix up after a decade of neglect.

The Museum is a fantastic albeit small operation run by a few dedicated staff and amazingly enthusiastic volunteers. You wont find another museum like it that provides access and close-up view of flying displays all for free. Museum management would love to have all aircraft under cover, but it takes much $$. Maybe when the F111 and Caribou arrive there may be a change!

Contractors on the front gate just do what they are told without much interest or understanding. The "military front gate" presence has long gone from all such bases....a real shame.
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 04:36   #5 (permalink)
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and your museum is ...

Maybe the rest of us could learn something from your example.
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 05:05   #6 (permalink)
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an exceptionally beautiful musuem, and all for free (or small donation i believe). It is very peaceful down there these days, and great to have a bit of a wander around and imagine what it was like not so long ago, as a fully functioning air force base. Hats off to the museum volunteers who do a fantastic job!
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 07:34   #7 (permalink)
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Other than the post about the renta-cops in charge of the gate, the rest is just a beat-up. PC was saved under the previous government. Gap year was previous government. This government is consolidating PC and LAV basings to PC only. Aerodrome is to be lengthened and strengthened to take the BBJ. two new hangers and the RAAF is to donate one of every aircraft into the future as aircraft come up for retirment. The Green gravel truck is the latest to be closely followed by a Pig.

Hope they keep hours available on the 'bou. Now that would be a demo to come and see once every couple of months
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 10:13   #8 (permalink)
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It is Amber because of the restricted area NOTAM'ed at the moment and all of the military aircraft parked there at the moment for Avalon. Lucky you or your mates got in at all so I'd hardly be complaining. Surprised that they didn't notice the rubber paint on the Herc and other aircraft, it's blatantly obvious as stated earlier.
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 03:08   #9 (permalink)
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We've all had probs with rent-a-cops at venues everywhere, not just air museums. In this case, it would appear that this one was just applying the letter of the law. Mind you, they always seem to be pretty quick with the rude remarks.

All other aspects of the first post can be taken with a grain of salt. Little money from the department to help a staff of largely volunteers work miracles down there; it is to them that we owe all we see at the RAAF museum. Similar attacks are often leveled at the ANAM at MB, again without thinking about what the team there have achieved with so damn little.


Are we going to celebrate your 1000th post (one to go) with a few more Kilkennys? God knows there's still a few left in the fridge!

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Old 17th Mar 2009, 08:42   #10 (permalink)
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RAAF Museum = GOLD

A37575's post = RUBBISH

A great band of paid but mostly volunteer people work tirelessly to operate and maintain the RAAF Museum. I haven't seen a better collection of RAAF ( or any airforce) memorabilia in one place. Flying displays are great and boohoo about waiting 5 minutes to get through the front gate, it's a day the kids wont forget.

standby for a much greater RAAF presence an YMPC in the furture. If my little birdy is correct a permanent staff of 500 could be operating out of there w/in 5 years. The Air movements terminal is getting upgraded for C17 ops and some of the southern hangers have been allocated to other units. interesting times for Ms Gillard dealing with the locals.
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Old 17th Mar 2009, 11:08   #11 (permalink)
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GunDog, thats what I heard.

Spend some time wandering around and getting people to talk and you find out all sorts of things about the place. The people are equally as important as the exhibits. Treasure! the guys doing the Mossie and when they toiled away on the Walrus, absolute gems to talk and listen to.
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Old 17th Mar 2009, 13:05   #12 (permalink)
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an exceptionally beautiful musuem, and all for free (or small donation i believe). It is very peaceful down there these days, and great to have a bit of a wander around and imagine what it was like not so long ago, as a fully functioning air force base. Hats off to the museum volunteers who do a fantastic job
Exactly. A summary of the points made by A37575 in his opening post made no criticism at all of the museum volunteers or of the museum itself. Points made seemed perfectly fair - eg Rude security at guard gate..neglected aircraft between hangars and Mirage fighter hidden from public viewing...lack of amenities to crowds that throng at weekends (bring your own sambos and thermos)

So why the sprays?
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Old 17th Mar 2009, 21:58   #13 (permalink)
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At Point Cook in my dreams, I see a vastly larger RAAF museum housing an example, or a copy, of every aircraft the RAAF ever flew, including G for George and that ME262.

Beside the museum is a large complex of hangars and businesses which is a world class centre for aircraft restoration, full of everything from old warbirds to Staggerwing Beachcraft and handling engines, airframes and all the other trades. They not only restore aircraft, but teach the necessary trades to those who want to learn.

Towards the water are new hangars housing hundreds of aircraft of all sorts. Point Cook Flying Club has a two story luxurious clubhouse with an upstairs deck and bar from where you can observe happenings and watch the comings and goings of the clubs sleek fleet of Fifty or so GA aircraft, ranging from Cessna Sky catchers for ab initio training to twins and big singles for the more experienced members.

The pleasant afternoon sunlight is full of the noise of aircraft engines, including the occasional deep throated radial..........

....then I wake up.

Seriously ferchrissake develop YPCK, or at least the bit on the Eastern side of the road, as an aviation industry business cluster with strong historic restoration and GA themes. The main reason the State Government should be howling to the Feds about this is jobs, jobs, jobs. However if the same people are still responsible for aviation matters at State level as before, then I'm not holding my breath. It would give us a strategic triangle YMMB, YMEN and YPCK that gives us just about perfect infrastructure.

or to put it another way, the drive from Williamstown to YMMB drives me nuts.

Last edited by Sunfish; 18th Mar 2009 at 00:07.
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Old 17th Mar 2009, 22:38   #14 (permalink)
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I haven't been down there for some time but I hope the said Mirage out in the weather gathering moss is not the one that used to a perfect specimen sitting inside one of the display hangars for years. I spent many hours lovingly dusting and polishing that thing up religiously (along with the other stuff in those hangars) every Friday morning. Shame if it is. I felt privileged to have a posting there for a couple of years.
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Old 18th Apr 2009, 07:22   #15 (permalink)
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The Mirage under the shade cloth is a RAAF College Parade Ground "gate Gaurdian" or display, and nothing to do with the RAAF Museum or its collection, nor is it the Mirage from the collection.

The RAAF Museum is operated and managed by paid civilian and uniformed staff from Defence, and do a wonderful job with what "we" the taxpayer give them to spend. Unfortunately the Defence budget is under constant pressure to tighten the belt, even more so in this financial crisis, and museum aircraft are not the priority over new subs, JSF's etc.

The Friends of the RAAF Museum provide a volunteer force for aircraft cleaning, and tour guiding within the museum, over and above the paid staff resourcing, and also do a wonderful job.

It is unfortunate that Point Cook has become a high security defence base again, with intended high cyclone fences and limited public access, it is not in the spirit of the outcomes sought and supposedly agreed by the last Government, nor even the Planning Strategies released by Defence itself in September 2007 which proposed public and defence precincts, shared civilian airfield use, and preservation of the heritage buildings.

Limits on photography verge on the ridiculous, a newspaper photographer was recently warned by the gate guard about taking a photo of the entry sign "outside" the base, (I was a witness to it), and after he rang someone to confirm!!!.

Public Access to the airfield, and the heritage is woeful, and the current outcome does not in mind comply at all with the announcements made by Government in September 2007.

As a taxpayer I am beginning now to question the logic of the relocation of resources back from Laverton, (an already high security base, with significant recent investment on new building infrastructure, to return those same resoruces back to Point Cook), I suspect the current Defence White Paper and Minister may now be doing the same?

I noted a State Liberal Party submission apparantly already making calls for that outcome.

Having been directly involved in the fight to save Point Cook since 1998 through the Action Group, with ongoing negotiations with the previous Federal Government through the Don Heyward Steering Committee of 2001, DFAD senate Enquiry, the Fran Bailey Trust announcement of 2004, and the RAAF proposals of 2006 and Government/Defence announcements of September 2007, it seems clear Defence is unable or unwilling to clearly articulate and implement Government policy, an acquisation made publicly recently by both the current Defence Minister, and also backed up by recent Defence Ministers from the previous Government.

The Federal Senate Inquiry into the activities of DEO at the time was quite enlightening, and that organisation under a new name as CSIG remains in control of the base through to today.

Parliament of Australia:Senate:Committees:Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee:Inquiry into the disposal of Defence properties - $PageTitle$

Mr Corey—As background to this, Point Cook has been an issue of contention politically at both state and commonwealth levels since probably before 1990. It was the focus of a study as to its future use in the Melbourne basin airfield study in 1989, and the debate has been ongoing since then as to what its future use should be. Defence is determined that its long-term requirement for Point Cook, in an operational sense, is that there is not one. We moved the flying school out of there some years back and we are in the process of relocating the operational units—the training units, the RAAF college. That has been approved by government and it will happen over the next two or three years. So the only Air Force presence, as such, will be the RAAF museum in the longer term. We have been dealing with state and commonwealth governments to develop a strategy for easing ourselves out of Point Cook for 10 years. But it has been brought into a whole range of
issues—like the National Aerospace Museum of Australia, NASMA. The previous Premier of Victoria, Premier Kennett, had some agreement to develop an option for a space museum or an aerospace museum at Point Cook, and it was going to attract half a million to a million visitors a
year. That did not happen. Premier Kennett withdrew funding from that project, so it died. A number of other options have been developed by the Air Force, principally encouraged by the RAAF museum, for future use at Point Cook. We have been attempting to come to grips with a strategy, at the political level, for 10 years—with very limited success, I might add. So the long term future of Point Cook—

CHAIR—That is an understatement. Ten years?

Mr Corey—The previous Minister for Defence said to me in 1995 or 1996, ‘This is your highest priority, Rod’. We tried, but we never got anywhere.

CHAIR—I never thought I would hear you say that before a committee of the Senate.

Mr Corey—It got to the stage where we said, ‘This is something that is getting very complicated and we’re not sure there is a way through it yet.’ But there are a lot of people who keep buying into this. The vested interests are killing us. Our solution is to put it on the market.
13 years later after the Minister's directive to the then Head of the Defence Estate (DEO) Rod Corey to make it his "Highest Priorty" and 8 years after this Senate testimony I dont think they have yet given it their highest priority or solved it correctly!




With an expected tightning of the Defence funding, there is now a great risk Point Cook will return to the sleepy hollow rustaway environment its been in since 1992 when its future was uncertain and there was no funding for its upkeep?

Hopefully it will survive the White Paper intact?

New Zealand recently closed their oldest base, even through it is the ongoing home of the RNZAF Museum, it will be carved up for housing, similar to the RAF Hendon base. We may have stopped the sale and bulldozing of Point Cook by DEO in the late 1990's but they are currently at great risk of achieving it through natural attrition.

An historic building damaged by winds through loss of a wall and its roof cladding over 12 months ago remains "as left" with not even tarpaulins to protect the internal structure from further weather damage.

The majority of the early and most historic buildings at Point Cook are timber and weatherboard construction, and have paint peeling to the point that there is no protection of the underlying timber, and rotted roof guttering and down pipes allowing water to directly enter the building structure.

Buildings (even historic ones) permitted to fall into disrepair become easy targets for the bureaucrats to demolish rather than preserve.

The building works urgently required today in 2009, are exactly the same ones identified in detail in the conservation heritage reports of 1992 and 1998 and not acted on by successive Defence and DEO managers at that time, despite Point Cook already being listed on the then Register of the National Estate. (RNE)

It has been subject to the new Heritage laws since 2004 with its then appointment to the Commonwealth Heritage List and reinforced with its 2007 appointment to the National Heritage List (a listing held up for over 3 years while DEO sought to knock down further buildings - Point Cook was one of the first sites to be nominated - back in January 2004!)

A more recent 2006 RAAF Heritage Council confidential report again proposed knocking down many historic buildings if the RAAF or Defence could not find uses for them, and taking photos for posterity.

Defence has made claims they didnt have a Heritage Conservation Management Plan for Point Cook (even testifying under oath into hansard) despite one being developed in 1992 by Allom Lovell, and a second appearing briefly on their own DEO website in 1998.

Today one finally exists, (as has been required by law for Point Cook since 2004!) and yet I have recently been told by Government that it remains "confidential" and apparantly unable to be made public until next year? I suspect that is so that a number of buildings can be demolished in the mean time?

- Point Cook is Australia's Most Important Aviation Heritage Site, and celebrates its Centenary in just 5 years time, hopefully it will survive intact to be there for the celebrations.

We are still in great risk of loosing much of Point Cook in my opinion, in terms of what it is today and what it could become.


Mark Pilkington
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 01:45   #16 (permalink)
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A few weeks ago I heard on the radio that RAAF Point Cook was having flying displays again. I have been trying to find some info about days and times, but no luck.

Does anyone know about it? Thanks.
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 04:46   #17 (permalink)
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The real estate agents tell all prospective purchasers of houses around Point Cook that the airfield "is going to be closed down in a year or so".

The property developers would love to get their hands on the base.

To me, Point Cook looks like the perfect place to build a GA industry cluster, with schools, clubs, maintenance and overhaul businesses and restoration businesses all clustered around a reinvigorated RAAF Museum.

Will it happen? I know how to do it, but I don't think the political will is there. Too much money in property development.
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 06:09   #18 (permalink)
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I dont feel like the original poster was flaming the museum too much, but if your really that peeved, get off ya bum and get involved..Im sure they'd be happy to have someone go out there and wash the planes...so go do it..The place is as far as i know more than happy to have volunteers

I took my grandpa there for part of his 81st birthday celebration, and i wasnt expecting much, but it is brilliant museum, and has a collection of the highest quality and all the volunteers were helpful, and the tiger moth show was a highlight for us both.(he used to fly around in them 60+ years ago with a mate)

the door b1tch was a bit of a problem, but it is still an armed forces base, so there has to be some system...(a better one would be good.)
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 11:24   #19 (permalink)
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While you're at it find some decent security staff with manners and we might return some of the lost business and patronage over the past 10 years.
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Agree. And surely, surely, surely they could place a hot drink vending machine in the foyer of the museum. After over a decade of no refreshment amenities (thankfully the museum does have a toilet and there is a drinking water faucet) because of some sort of contract dispute that locks out tenders for a refreshment machine, the time is only 15 years overdue for one little coffee machine that would cost bugger all. The dusty bird shit covered RAAF planes in the open and the lack of a lousy coffee machine says it all - despite the fine job done by volunteers. Of course you can always bring a thermos or grab a coffee at Point Cook shopping mall on the way to the museum, but it is not a good look for overseas visitors.
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 11:32   #20 (permalink)
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Renovating the ex-officers quarters for use by Airline cadets might be a worthwhile excercise too.
The problem would getting the wafting aroma of curry from the rooms after the cadets had left for other countries...
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