Museum History


The Historical Aircraft Restoration Society Inc (HARS) is a not-for-profit organisation and was formed in 1979 by a group of aviation enthusiasts interested in the preservation of Australian aviation history.

It was in this capacity that our members virtually traversed the Australian continent from Tasmania to Kalumburu in North Western Australia and from Cape Llewellin to Cape York in search of aviation artefacts. These expeditions resulted in providing considerable assistance to many restorations including many outside of the HARS itself.

Of significant importance was the recovery in the early eighties of two Beaufighter airframes from North Western Australia. One, a Mk1 Beaufighter aircraft, was exchanged after it had been restored by HARS for the Lockheed Super Constellation. This aircraft now resides in the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. The other airframe is central to the Mk21 Beaufighter currently under restoration by HARS.

A constitution was drawn up and HARS became an incorporated society in 1988. In 1991 the Australian Taxation Office granted our request for donations to be allowable as a tax deduction. HARS is a Deductible Gift Recipient organisation HARS underwent a restructure in late 1991.

The principal objective was to have a more business-oriented organisation capable of managing large projects that require significant logistical support. It was also important at this time to develop a focus on what we wanted to achieve. Our Mission Statement strongly expresses our emphasis and direction.

    To recover, and where possible restore to flying condition, aircraft or types of aircraft that have played a significant part in Australian Aviation History both in the Civil and Military arenas.

In order to achieve our objectives HARS recruited specialist people from within the aviation industry who were interested in the preservation of historical aircraft. The result is that we now have within our membership over 70 licensed aircraft engineers out of a total of 480 people. Their licenses cover virtually all of the skills recognised within the industry.

Since 1991, we have achieved significant milestones in our endeavours to preserve our aviation heritage. Our record to-date in aircraft restorations alone is there for all to see. It is an impressive record when one considers that it has been achieved solely by volunteers of HARS. It has been financed to-date partly by corporate sponsorship and from the general public.

In addition, HARS has received a Federal Government Grant of $275,000 to assist in the erection of the Museum and Education Building. HARS members themselves have also contributed considerable funds towards this project which is some 11,500 sqm.

In 1997 the International Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators awarded the Grand Master’s Australian Award to HARS in recognition of the outstanding restoration of the Lockheed Super Constellation.

This was presented in London in December 1998 to our President, Mr Robert De La Hunty OAM, on behalf of HRH Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh.