History Museums

A visit to the South Australian Aviation Museum at Port Adelaide

How to get there, and what to expect at South Australia’s premier aviation museum

After arriving in Adelaide on the inaugural QantasLink/Alliance Airlines flight from Hobart on one of their new Embraer E190s, I made a visit to the South Australian Aviation Museum out at Port Adelaide. Today I’ll give you a bit of a taster of their collection, and some hints and tips on how to get there.

Commodore Aviation Aero 145 VH-ZCL

As I only had five hours in Adelaide before I had to fly back to Hobart on the evening Jetstar flight, I elected to head out to visit the SAAM, as it is helpfully located a 10 minute walk from Port Adelaide Railway Station, on the Outer Harbour line, operated by Adelaide Metro. First up I had a rather tedious 30 minute bus ride into the city centre, on the J1 service, before making the 5 minute walk to Adelaide’s rather grand station to the north of the CBD on the banks of the Karrawirraparri/River Torrens. The train out to Port Adelaide takes 20-25 minutes, on the older 1980s vintage 3000/3100 class DMUs, so expect an ‘authentic’ ride. From Port Adelaide station to the museum its only a short walk, however it does involve crossing a ridiculously wide high speed road with absolutely no pedestrian crossings, so expect a long wait during rush hours.

RAN De Havilland DH-112 Sea Venom WZ931

The museum sits alongside the National Railway Museum of Australia, with their aircraft collection housed in three fairly unassuming warehouse type buildings. The entry fee is fairly reasonable, around ten dollars, depending on your age-group, and the volunteers are helpful and friendly. Unfortunately the lighting in all three hangars is not particularly conducive to photography, so my photos are a bit dodgy.

The museum is primarily home to military aircraft, however Hangar 1 does feature the CSIRO’s Fokker F27-100 Friendship, VH-CAT, and the forward fuselage of a Cobham Aviation BAe 146-300, VH-NJL, as well as some other, smaller civilian aircraft.

RAAF English Electric Canberra B2 WK156
RAAF General Dynamics F-111C Aardvark A8-132

Hangar 1 is also home to three larger RAAF aircraft, a General Dynamics F-111, an English Electric Canberra B2, and a Douglas C-47, up the back next to the Fokker Friendship.

RAAF Avro Anson I EF954

Hangar 2 is connected to Hangar 1 by the museum’s active restoration workshop, with an Avro Anson and a Fairey Battle currently being worked on.

RAAF Lockheed P-3C Orion A9-756
RAAF De Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou A4-225
RAN Westland Wessex N7-224

Hangar 2 houses exclusively RAAF and RAN Air Arm aircraft, including two relatively recent retirements by the RAAF, Lockheed P-3C Orion, A9-756, and De Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou, A4-225, with the museum allowing access aboard both, along with the RAN Westland Wessex helicopter.

RAAF Gloster Meteor F8 A77-851

I spotted a map of Tassie on the Gloster Meteor nose, however, I don’t actually know it’s connection to the state as I didn’t get a chance to read the information board, since I had to head back to catch my train into the city.

RAAF Dassault Mirage IIID A3-115

The museum has a small shop in reception with a variety of books, souvenirs and aircraft kits to check out on your way out. Had I had more time in Adelaide, I would have likely checked out the National Railway Museum next door, however I was booked on the evening Jetstar flight back to Hobart, so didn’t have time. Check back next Sunday for my trip report on that flight.

I hope this has been an enjoyable read, and I highly recommend a visit to the museum if you’re ever in Adelaide, as the excellent public transport makes it a viable option even for those without cars or the budget for a taxi or rideshare. Don’t forget to sub to my YouTube and follow my Instagram using the buttons below.

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