A HISTORIC Vietnam-era bomber jet is on its way to New South Wales after more than a decade on display at the RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre.

The disassembled Canberra A84-203 bomber was carefully loaded onto three separate trucks yesterday to be transported to its new home at Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome and Heritage Aviation Association.

Officer in charge of restoration for RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre, Warrant Officer David Caughley, watched on as the heritage aircraft was hoisted up by a crane ready to leave the base.

WO Caughley said although it was sad to see the aircraft go, it was important for Australia's heritage organisations to share pieces of Air Force history.

"It's been with us for about 10 or 15 years and it was time we shared our asset with other heritage centres around south-east Queensland," he said.

"It took 16 people four days to disassemble it into the three main components.

HISTORY IN MOTION: A84 Canberra Bomber loaded onto a truck at RAAF Amberley Heritage Centre bound for Evans Head.
HISTORY IN MOTION: A84 Canberra Bomber loaded onto a truck at RAAF Amberley Heritage Centre bound for Evans Head. LAC Brenton Kwaterski

"It's sad to see any aircraft leave its home base, however it's going to another museum where it will be enjoyed by the public. It also creates space for us so we can get more in."

Shane Rochford from the Evans Head association will be heading the project to restore the 1950s Canberra bomber to its former glory.

"To have an additional aircraft that was a pre-runner to the F-111 means a heck of a lot," he said.

"It's taken six months of planning to get to this stage.

"Eventually it's going to be rebuilt, painted and restored bit by bit until it looks new.

"You've got to preserve the history for future generations."

The RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre is open on the third Sunday of every month from 9am-3pm.

The Canberra A84-203:

  • Was used in the Malayan Emergency and the Vietnam War.
  • Could travel up to 933 kmh at top speed.
  • Was a predecessor to the F-111.
  • Carried six 340 kg bombs, four in the bomb bay and one under each wing tip during the Vietnam War.
  • Was Australia's first jet bomber.


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