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The 'Cockpit Experience' photographed by the museum's photographer

The ‘Cockpit Experience’ photographed by the museum’s photographer

Recently we visited the F111 Museum Evans Head.  (Its full name is the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Heritage  Aviation Museum).  It was the first day the museum was showcasing its F111 Cockpit experience.  My eleven year old was super keen.

The museum is brand new, and is fortunate enough to be allocated the care of one of only six F111s to be placed in museums around Australia.  The historic society got the green light last February, and in that time have reconstructed the heritage listed hanger that is the home to the museum, and put together  all their displays for the official opening  August just gone, by Brendan Nelson, director of the Australian War Memorial.  It is so impressive what this enthusiastic team of museum volunteers have a achieved in such a short time. F11114The cockpit experience is an extra over and above the museum entry.  It gives the visitor the opportunity to sit in the cockpit of the F111, be given a run thorough down of the controls by a former pilot – and best of all, get to dress up in the gear.  With the experience comes some professional photos, emailed very promptly.

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It is hard here to give a sense of scale of the F111.  It’s big – huge – 3/4s the width of the hangar.  While it is the dominant exhibit, there is a lot of space to walk around and view the other exhibits which include a Mig15  – and bright yellow tigermoth – with very cute miniature under its wing.

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There is a lot to be impressed about with this museum.  Apart from the effusive enthusiasm of the volunteers, it is a well thought out space.  A poster display tells the story of the F111s and of the local history and role of Evans Head in World War II.  The emphasis is on ‘hands on’ and kids are encouraged to touch and take a seat in the flying machines, where possible.  Information about the planes is displayed clearly on sandwich boards – very effective.

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For day trippers it is a great day out.  It is a one and a half hour drive from the Gold Coast.  We stopped off at the Bangalow markets on the way down, had a picnic lunch at Evans Heads after the museum visit, then stopped for an ice-cream at the Macadamia castle on the way back.

For schools there is much to connect with in terms of curriculum.  It links in particularly  well with Year 3 & Year 10 history, science, physics and aeronautics.

You can find the museum by travelling along the Evans Head – Woodburn Road.  Turn off at the Evans Head Wave sign – you’ll know what I mean when you see it.  Then look for the hangar.F11117 F11116


I wish the museum every success.

Author: Janis Hanley

Janis Hanley creates education programs for museums. She has a strong interest in digital engagement. Her programs have received several Queensland National Trust awards. Janis is the Queensland representative of the Museums Australia Education committee, and founder/coordinator of MAEdQ - a Queensland Network for Museum Educators . Janis is currently researching the value of digital story telling in community museums.

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