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Dedication of Beaufort A9-557 at Australian War Memorial
by Robert Greinert March 28, 2003

For some five years now, members of the HARS Restoration Workshop have been working on the restoration of various subassemblies of the Beaufort A9-557. Major Components worked on include wing centre section and outboard wings, rear fuselage, tailplane, fin, cowling nose bowls, cowling gills and cockpit.

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All the work has been contracted by the AWM on the basis of full time professional sheetmetal work and volunteer labour. Not only have we been able to play a major role in the restoration of one of the most important aircraft in Australia today but also we managed to make a profit on the exercise and present the funds to the Society.

The Beaufort was rolled out in a major unveiling ceremony at Australian War Memorial on the 28th March with over 500 people attending the function. Commencing with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Veterans, dignitaries and guests were then addressed by the Director of the AWM Major General Steve Gower (Rtd), Minister for Veteran Affairs – Donna Vale MP, Air Commodore Keith Parsons and Chief of Air Force Air Marshal A.G. Houston AO AFC. The aircraft was then presented in a special viewing.

The importance of the Beaufort in Australian history should not be underestimated and the contribution of the mean and women involved in the industrial and military war effort will always be remembered.

The role of the HARS restoration team was a major factor in the overall success of the restoration programme. Not only did we tackle big chunks of the aeroplane others had declined, we were also able to play a major part in the spare parts acquisition programme, including two trips to Papua New Guinea resulting in a 20ft container of parts [from Tadji Airfield] being made available for the project.

It was a great honour for the HARS restoration team to be a part of the team that brought back to life this Australian icon. Two additional points regarding this restoration are:

a) The AWM was provided the spares from Tadji at the cost of the expedition. A detailed schedule of costs was provided to the AWM with supporting documentation. No profit was made from this job.

b) All profits from the contracted restoration work were used by the HARS to further its preservation programmes.

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