While most Australia Day parades are on the ground, the HARS Aviation Museum is doing it with a parade of vintage aircraft over Wollongong.

HARS - Caribou start. Howard Mitchell photo.
Photo: Howard Mitchell  HARS Caribou

January 26th is Australia Day, a day designed to bring the nation together to celebrate what’s great about living down under. Communities and organizations around the country celebrate in many different ways, although it is usually in sight of a barbeque with plenty of cold drinks nearby.

Australia Day parade in the sky

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This Thursday, a group of aviation enthusiasts from the HARS Aviation Museum are organizing an Australia Day aerial parade of up to six vintage aircraft in the skies above Wollongong. Wollongong is a coastal city located 85 kilometers (53 miles) south of Sydney in New South Wales. It is Australia’s tenth-largest city by population and an important regional hub for coal mining, fishing and heavy industry.

The aviation museum is run by volunteers of the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) and is home to more than 50 aircraft. The museum, located close to Wollongong at Shellharbour Airport (WOL), has a range of aircraft on display, including flying aircraft, static aircraft, aircraft restorations, engines and cockpit displays.

One of their most notable projects was to take a derelict Super Constellation from a US aircraft graveyard, restore it from almost nothing and then fly it across the Pacific Ocean to its new home.

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Which aircraft are in the parade?

HARS Aviaiton Museum - Orion AP-3C

Photo: HARS Aviation Museum Orion AP-3C

Today’s Illawarra Mercury, the newspaper of Wollongong and its surrounds, reports that up to six vintage aircraft from the HARS museum will participate in the parade. Depending on Thursday’s weather and aircraft availability, the participating aircraft expected to be part of the parade include:

  • AP-3C Lockheed Orion: the former Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) maritime patrol and submarine hunter
HARS - Orion view of Wollongong. Howard Mitchell photo.

Photo: Howard Mitchell – Orion view of Wollongong

  • Caribou: a short-field RAAF transport and Vietnam veteran aircraft
  • Cessna C-310B: one of two bought by the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in 1957 for cloud seeding
  • UH-1B Huey Iroquois helicopter 898: now part of the HARS Navy Heritage Flight
  • Bell 206B-1: a former army Kiowa helicopter
  • Victa Airtourer: built in 1965 and now fully restored

The plan is for the aircraft to take off from Shellharbour Airport at 17:45 and fly to Warilla, then north along the coast at 500 feet off Stanwell Tops, returning at a height of 1,000 feet via Flagstaff Point at Wollongong Harbour, then back to the airport. They are expected to all be back on the ground by 18:45.

What’s in the HARS Collection?

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Qantas 707 formerly owned by actor John Travolta

Volunteers maintain all of the HARS aircraft, and each aircraft is there because of its significance to Australia’s aviation history. An exciting project HARS is working on is the Qantas Boeing 707, formerly owned and flown by actor John Travolta. A team of volunteers is working in the US on getting the aircraft ready to return to Australia and go on display at the HARS Museum. In a Facebook post, HARS says the Boeing 707, formerly registered as VH-EBM, will be ready “when it is safe and ready.”

Some of the notable aircraft and engines on display include the following.

Flying Aircraft

  • Convair 440
  • De Havilland DHA-3 Drover
  • Douglas DC-3
  • Lockheed C-121C Super Constellation
  • Lockheed AP-3C Orion

Static Aircraft

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Qantas Boeing 747 VH-OJA City Of Canberra landing for the first time in Australia
  • Boeing 747-438 Qantas VH-OJA City of Canberra
  • English Electric Canberra
  • General Dynamics F-111C
  • Bell AH-1 Huey Cobra
  • Piaggio P-166 Portofino


  • Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah Piston Aero Engine
  • Rolls-Royce Avon 26 Jet Aero Engine
  • Rolls-Royce Merlin Piston Aero Engine
  • Wright R-3350 Radial Piston Aero Engine

The HARS Museum is open every day except for Christmas Day, with guided tours available and a cafe onsite.

Have you ever been to the HARS Museum? Let us know about it in the comments.

Sources: Illawarra Mercury, HARS Aviation Museum

Source: simpleflying.com

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