Darwin Aviation Museum

Not really real – but close…

The number 8 bus goes from central Darwin along Stuart Highway to the Darwin Aviation Museum.

Not really real – but close…

Interesting stories about Darwin’s aviation history and wartime experience with 19 aircraft including a B52 bomber, 21 engines and a rare amateur footage of the first air-raid in Darwin on display. Aircraft include a B-25 Mitchell Bomber (one of the few surviving in the world), a replica Spitfire, Mirage, Avon Sabre, a Royal Australian Navy Wessex helicopter that assisted in the clean-up of Darwin after Cyclone Tracy, F-111C, the legendary B52 Bomber.

Loving aircraft this was toward the top of my list. However, knowing that the beauty of these aircraft has the only purpose of killing takes away some of the lustre. The most distressing display was the photos of more than 500 Australians killed in the Viet Nam War. Even more distressing is that these young people, mostly in their early 20s, were subscripted – they had no choice about dying. What did it accomplish?

To quote from https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news

WHEN the wooden balls began dropping from the barrel 50 years ago this week, there were many people who were hoping that this was one lottery in which their number wouldn’t come up.

The prize was a trip to Kapooka or Puckapunyal, for National Service training and possibly a tour of duty in Vietnam.

Often known as the “birthday lottery” it was held in secret in the boardroom of the Department of Labour and National Service in Melbourne.

The draw was done from a barrel that had been used for 50 years for Tattersall’s cup sweeps, filled with 181 numbered marbles representing the days of the year from January 1 to June 30. Alternate lotteries would have 184 balls for the dates of the rest of the year.

If one of the balls drawn corresponded to the birthdate of one of the thousands of Australian men, aged 20, who had registered for National Service, it meant they were eligible for call-up.

From that first ballot, on March 10, 1965, around 2100 men would be called up. While many of those went willingly, the birthday lottery was not without controversy. It was also not the first time a bingo barrel had been used to call up men for national service.

That was how it was done in Australia. In the States it was a bit different for us.

Nevertheless, a visit to this museum is well worth it.

See our two minute clip at