The idea of building a memorial to the service men and women who had been stationed at the No.1 Flying Boat Repair Depot at Lake Boga during World War II was first discussed by a few local Lake Boga Lions Club members over a few beers at the local pub in 1983.
From this humble beginning, countless volunteer hours, 'blood, sweat and tears' and many more beers, the 'dream' finally came to conclusion when the modern hangar which houses a restored Catalina and other exhibits was officially opened on 21st April, 2012.
The aircraft on display is a Catalina PBY5, A24-30. It depicts the type and size of aircraft that were used as patrol bombers during World War II and was built in the USA by the Consolidated Aircraft Company. It was originally a Netherlands aircraft that was adopted by the Royal Australian Air Force in 1942 and given the registered number A24–30. After the war it was sold to Kingsford Smith Airlines, who used it for spare parts. The body was sent to Lake Boga for scrap, but it was purchased by a local farmer and taken to Nyah. The farmer used some parts but left the rest lying under a tree for forty years. His family donated it to the Lake Boga Lions Club who has painstakingly assembled and semi-restored it to something of its former glory.
The New Building
From 1988 until 2010 the aircraft was displayed in the open parkland adjacent to the original secret underground Communications Bunker. In early 1997, work began on developing the Bunker into a museum to house the many exhibits and artefacts that had been collected and donated. The Bunker museum was officially opened in November, 1997. Following its 24 years exposed to the elements and after a long and arduous process to procure funds to enable a hanger to be constructed over the plane, it was restored again in 2011. Late in 2011 the museum was relocated from the Bunker into the hangar with the Catalina and the Bunker was re-constructed using original plans and photographs to resemble its wartime state.
From this in 1988
to this in 2011
The Lions Club of Lake Boga acknowledges and greatly appreciates the generosity of the many individuals and business who have contributed their time, expertise, materials and machinery to this project. A special thank you to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society, based at Albion Park, NSW, for their assistance throughout the project.
Our sincere thanks also to all the financial supporters who have made this memorial a reality They include, from the early days, the Lake Boga Water Ski Club and the Swan Hill Shire through to today for the funding from the Federal Government Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan, the Victorian Government Small Town Development Fund, the Swan Hill Rural City Council and the Lions Club of Lake Boga which enabled the construction of the hangar.