As my aviation road trip continues, I dropped by the Friends of the Avro Anson Museum in Ballarat, Victoria in August 2018 with my nephew Nate to catch up with Alan J. Penhall to see the restoration progress on his “Faithful Annie“, a former RAAF Avro Anson Mk.I twin-engine training aircraft. I had not been to the museum at the Ballarat Airport for over 2 years, so it was great to catch up with Alan and see his efforts to preserve Ballarat aviation history. There is more than just gold fields history in Ballarat!
The Anson being restored is made up of a number of former RAAF aircraft – predominately LV238, LV284, LV298, MG436 and MH127. The nose is believed to be from LV298 and the airframe is around 80% of LV284, which entered RAAF service in 1943. LV284 was operated in a training role by No. 1 Wireless Air Gunners School (1WAGS) at RAAF Ballarat from September 1944 (on the site of today’s airport) and was sold off for scrap in 1947 (52 Anson’s used for training at Ballarat were sold off in 1947/48).
My earlier post from April 2016 details the history of RAAF Ballarat and the background of the Anson museum and restoration. The Ballarat Airport is the most intact of the surviving Victorian Empire Air Training Scheme training bases and was added to the Victorian Heritage Register in 2007.
As you can see in my photos, since 2016 the aircraft has been put up on its undercarriage and has been repainted in a camo scheme livery. Numerous minor modifications along with fuselage parts, skin etc have also been added.
Only one of the restored Armstrong-Siddely Cheetah IX engines has been installed and it has been significantly restored since 2016. The starboard engine will eventually follow, once restored at an off-site facility.
The wooden framed wings are long gone and will not be added to this restoration. This is a typical problem as the wings were hacked off outboard of the engines when sold as scrap by the RAAF to transport them more easily. There is also no room in the building, which was the old RAAF base gym, to add wings to this Anson restoration!
The Friends of the Anson Air Museum (Airport Road, Ballarat, Victoria) is open weekends and public holidays from 1pm to 5pm or by arrangement. Alan J. Penhall can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (03) 5332 4651. Everything in regards to the restoration and museum is done by volunteers on a shoestring budget with the aid of donations from museum visitors, so any contribution to help complete the project would no doubt be greatly appreciated! I would like to personally thank Alan once again for his time and being so welcome to myself and my nephew during my return visit to the museum. As always, much appreciated!
Anson Air Museum Ballarat