The history of flying is colourful and adventurous and the HARS Parkes Aviation Museum’s growing collection is worth a visit for young and old.
The museum is part of the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS), a voluntary not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation of aircraft and artefacts that are significant to Australian aviation history whether military or civilian.
The society was founded in the mid-1960s with one flying aircraft and a number of WW2 Beaufighter airframes, and now has over 100 aircraft and around 30 that fly or are under restoration to fly.
The HARS has had a presence in Parkes from 1975 with our spares stored in the dry climate of the inland. Around 10 years ago CASA decided to widen the runway and the Council issued us with an eviction notice as the hangar had to be demolished.
Later CASA and Council rescinded the eviction and we decided to remain and develop a static museum of aircraft and artefacts that could be displayed in the Central West.
During the past five years we have partnered with Parkes High School to bring in Year 10 and 11 students to increase their opportunities for future employment by imparting some knowledge and skills that will help them later in the work place.
The students learn surface preparation, spray and roller painting, some mechanical and carpentry skills and become part of a team working together ensuring safe practices while using tools and construction equipment.
Many of the students have gone on to worthwhile careers after their time with the museum, while the museum has benefitted by the application of their skills.
The museum is open on Thursdays and Sundays from 9:30am to 3:30pm. More volunteers are being sought to act as tour guides or as hands on restorers. The aircraft of the museum are non-flying and restoration work does not require aviation licensed volunteers. If you are interested, call Mike on 0418 473 175.
By Mike De La Hunty