The Creation of the TAA (Aviation Heritage) Museum.
The Trans-Australia Airlines Museum is the only aviation museum dedicated to the preservation of Australia's domestic aviation development, and formally recognises all participants in aviation development in this country.
Primarily focusing on TAA and AUSTRALIAN Airlines this collection is unique, and as such is recognised by QANTAS through its support, although it is a private collection.
The demise of the name TAA with the name change to Australian Airlines in 1986, meant that the documentation and history of the original airline was to be discarded, and a new identity emerge. For the next 2 1/2 years AUSTRALIAN Airlines would both change and rapidly grow financially, no longer constrained by government restriction.
In 1989 the Flight Staff in the Flight Operations Department went on strike, grounding both major domestic airlines and all airlines affiliated with the Federation. The pilots had resigned en masse, placing the industry in turmoil.
The Government response was to terminate the Pilots employment contracts and engage a new workforce under entirely changed conditions and again many records were discarded. The industry that had survived and worked harmoniously for over 40 years was now totally reorganized.
In 1993, and with government direction, Australian airlines was merged with QANTAS as both were government owned airlines, and this new entity was offered for sale under the new privatization legislation. Again old records were discarded or destroyed.
All these changes meant that the history was being lost through the ignorance of change and creation of a new identity, without a thought of preserving the history of the aviation industry.
A small group of long serving members of TAA, concerned about the history of the airline and its worldwide reputation which had forced the development of all domestic air services and the creation of the airline network in Australia, banded together to save and store this history for the future.
This small group of forward thinking employees, commenced to store and recover items that would normally be discarded and lost for all time, thus preserving the colourful history of numerous domestic and world firsts.
Over the years dumpsters had been raided and items emerged when offices were renovated, workshops reported items that should be saved, and donations from various sources, including many personal career memories and personal effects, were offered and the museum grew rapidly.
The group involved in collecting this history also expanded, including many who had commenced in 1946 when TAA commenced, and when TAA changed its name to Australian Airlines.
When QANTAS took over, the museum was located in Franklin Street, Melbourne, and in 2006 QANTAS offered a larger site at Airport West, permitting ground level access with disabled facilities, and now the collection continues to grow, in its new home, with public support.
Qantas continues to support the efforts of recovery by the volunteers, for which we are eternally grateful.
From the original 4000 - 5000 items collected by 1996, the collection had grown to over 100,000 items by 2005-6, and the move to Airport West took 12 men, 3 trucks and 5 days to effect the transfer of 234 cubic meters of memorabilia.
QANTAS had reorganized the new facilities to accommodate what was now seen as a 'large' collection, and the original volunteer group of 16 people, now encouraged others to join, and at the peak, 31 people worked over 8 months to re-establish the new display, - the oldest member was 89 years of age, the youngest 48, and all ages in between, a great show of loyalty for the 'old' airline, as all had joined TAA, and made it a life's career.
Of the 1993 original team, it is important to acknowledge those members who are no longer with us, Glenn Cumming, Display Manager, Capt Mike King, Engineer Bob McGirr, Jack Price Manager Printing, and Dorothy Tuff, as each played a major part in setting up the original museum.
Today's volunteers continue the work of recovery, restoration, review and reorganization to ensure that whatever is important to portray this history is placed on display.
From small beginnings, the Trans-Australia (Aviation Heritage) Museum is now a collection of over 130,000 items, - the first credit card, simulated cockpit(s) of the Airbus A300B4, Boeing 727-200 and DC9-30, the internal workings of the ROLLS-ROYCE DART engine, to every TAA / Australian uniform style from 1946 to 1993.
The museum identifies the achievements of a once great airline, the contributions made to aviation in general, and the people who made it "TAA - The Friendly Way".