Trans-Australia Airlines Museum

TAA Museum - Collection

Museum Entry


In 2007, QANTAS, recognising the historic value, as well as the volume of the collection, invited the TAA 25 Year Club Inc. to relocate to a larger site with public and disabled access, which became available at York Street, Airport West in Melbourne, opposite the original site of TAA's operations in 1947.

The original small area allocated in 1988 in Franklin Street, TAA's Head Office (since 1965 and then transferred to QANTAS), was modified to house some articles that were considered of value. In 1992, approval was given for this to be expanded and approximately 150 sq metres was allocated on the 11th Floor. This area alleviated the overcrowding problem, but had severe limitations when public access was granted to promote and present the now growing collection, and was not considered suitable for public admittance.

Today the Museum houses over 150,000 items, attracting donations of personal effects, memorabilia, and items recovered from Trash and Treasure Markets, Op shop sales, and city and country second hand dealer shops.

From small beginnings, this is now the only dedicated museum portraying the commercial history of Australia's airline development and includes, TAA and AUSTRALIAN plus many other smaller airlines that existed to serve the people of Australia.

Interesting Items Contained within the collection

Many items have significant historical value with stories befitting each identity

The first credit card issued by TAA in 1947

to a man who also served the people of Australia, but in a different way, his name was Harry Wren, who was well known on the East Cost of Australia for his troupe of traveling thespians, a theatre group that performed from Cairns in the North to Adelaide in the South, and all stations in between, including rural towns.

Credit Card 1

The original hand embroided pilots wings

which because of the advanced operational date (a new deadline imposed by Arthur Coles one month ahead of schedule) were passed from pilot to pilot as uniforms were not due to be issued until late September for an October commencement.

The donor continually returned his uniform for 'alteration', until he was the last one to be issued and he had at that time retained these wings which he donated to the museum in 2006 during the 60th anniversary celebrations of the airline. His name - Captain Bill Waterton, who had also flown for ANA before joining TAA, and the pilot who delivered VH-AES to TAA in June 1946.


Original Photographs and Films

A prized original photographs of the arrival of the first flight in Sydney (0930am - 9th September 1946, along with tickets and a signed menu from this flight.

Rare photographs of the arrival of VH-TVA, the first Vickers Viscount to operate outside of Europe.

Ansett for Sale Letters

A letter from Reginald Miles ANSETT, dated 13th March 1946, offering his airline, ANSETT Airways Ltd, based in Hamilton, Victoria, for sale to the ANAC, (the Australian National Airlines Commission) suggesting that his operation was already established and that the ANAC could immediately commence operations. The appropriate reply from Arthur Coles, Chairman of the ANAC, is also on display.

Original Blue Prints

The original Douglas Aircraft Corp. schematic chart identifying how to convert the electrical system of a C-47 "Dakota" troop carrier, to enable the aircraft to carry passengers once in the DC-3 configuration, - nearly all aircraft in commercial passenger service in Australia were converted C-47's at that time.

World Recognition

The plaque, and documentation, commemorating 10,000 hours flying as logged on VH-TAO, the Consolidated Vultee Convair 240, identifying that TAA was the first airline in the world to achieve high aircraft utilization in commercial service

The plaque commemorating 10,000 hours flying as logged on VH-TVE, the Vickers Viscount 720, identifying that TAA was the first airline in the world to again achieve high aircraft utilization in commercial service and for service reliability.

Photographs of the service excellence award, The Cummerbatch Trophy, awarded to TAA in 1958 by the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators.

TAA was the first Australian Airline, and first domestic airline to achieve this award which had always been presented to the international carriers in the past.


Many engineering components on display were originally used to train engineering staff. Of the many items on display there is an autopilot from a DC-3/C-47, early radio equipment, the weather radar dome from a Viscount, and a working 'black box' from a Boeing 737 - 300 aircraft. (it is actually fireglow orange for easy identification)