September 16 2006 will go down in the history of Temora Aviation Museum as the day the Prime Minister of Australia The Honorable John Howard MP attended a Flying Day and officiated at a ceremony to celebrate the Museum’s achievements during its first five years and open the new 05/23 runway.
The Prime Minister arrived at 10.45am and was given a personal tour of the Museum taking time to say hello to many visitors along the way. The Prime Minister spoke with many WWII Veterans and gathered with them for photos in front of the Spitfire. The weather was perfect, allowing the ceremony to take place out on the Museum tarmac with a magical backdrop including the Lockheed Hudson, Mk XVI Spitfire, Boomerang, Tigermoth and Wirraway. A choir of children made up of students from the five Temora Shire schools performed the National Anthem followed by speeches by Temora Shire Council Mayor Nigel Judd, Museum President and Founder David Lowy AM and The Prime Minister of Australia, The Honorable John Howard MP.
In his speech David shared with everyone:
“The Temora Aviation Museum represents many things to me, at it’s most basic level it’s the fulfilment of a boyhood dream; ever since I was a kid I was passionate about flying and anything to do with aviation. I have to thank my mother Shirley Lowy, who is sitting here in front here for that. When I was about five years old we lived on a steep hill in Dover Heights in Sydney just near the cliffs fronting the Pacific Ocean, ideal conditions for a prevailing up draught particularly in summer; my mother bought me a small balsawood glider and every afternoon after school Mum would take me to the top of the hill where I would throw the glider into the air and watch it glide all the way down the hill, I’d be there for hours, sometimes till dark mesmerized watching this glider float through the air; ever since then I’ve wanted to fly and aviation has been part of me so Mum you were the start of what we see today”.
The Prime Minister stated:
“Very importantly indeed, most importantly, I acknowledge the presence of veterans of WWII, of the war in Korea and in Vietnam because today more than anything else is a salute to that remarkable band of men who did so much for all of us in the darker days of WWII, anybody who has any recall of WWII will remember that extraordinary remark of Winston Churchill that never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few and the men gathered here today, the returned airmen are gathered here today are part of that great tradition that was honoured in that evocative and forever remembered phrase.
Can I also say on behalf of all of you of how much we are in the debt of David Lowy, his wife and all of the others who have poured so much energy and enthusiasm into this aviation museum.”
A commemorative plaque was unveiled and the RAAF Roulettes surprised Museum visitors by arriving into their aerobatic display.
A highlight of the day was the debut of the new Mk XVI Spitfire TB863 and a formation display of the Museum’s two Spitfires flown by Steve Death and Guy Bourke. Also in the program were two Mustangs and Col Pay’s P-40 Kittyhawk
Special visitors included Veterans from RAAF 457 and 453 Squadrons including Russell Leith who actually flew the Museum’s Mk XVI Spitfire on operational missions in Europe during WWII. Spitfire TB 863’s former owner Sir Tim Wallis traveled from Wanaka NZ to see the historic Australian debut
The Temora Shire Council is constructing an additional runway here at Temora. The project has been under development for over 12 months and construction commenced prior to the end of 2003. The new runway will be 2000m long and oriented NE/SW or 05/23.
The Temora Aviation Museum is excited about this project as it will give greater flexability to our aircraft operations. The runway is part of the Temora Shire’s ongoing commitment to attract aviation related businesses to Temora. The runway is scheduled to be completed in the second quarter 2004.