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Fighter World History

1980

The Origins of Fighter World

Fighter World has its origins in the original RAAF Williamtown Base Museum. This was established in the early 1980s and comprised a wartime hut located near the main gate.

The building was inadequate and the deterioration of historic aircraft left on open display at the main gate was of great concern. There were no other buildings on the base that could be used to house the exhibits so a long term plan was developed using an alternative approach.

1988

Stimulating Economic Growth

In the early 1980s the Federal Government established a project, the Steel Regions Assistance Programme (SRAP), to stimulate economic growth.
Fighter World was incorporated as an independent body with a Committee of Management including prominent local citizens and senior personnel from the RAAF Base to qualify for a grant under the SRAP. $500,000 was provided by the Federal Government for the construction of the Main Hangar and building began in late 1988.
1989

Advancing Beyond a simple Museum

The decision to advance beyond the idea of a simple museum was based on tourist appeal and a desire to avoid confliction with the aims of the RAAF Museum, Point Cook.

Focusing on fighter aircraft and their operations and providing a detailed explanation of the component systems of the air defence environment, provided a way of satisfying both of these aims while making the display unique to RAAF Base Williamtown and the Tactical Fighter Group (TFG). 

In 1989, Hon Bob Hawke, Prime Minister, accepted an invitation to be the Patron of Fighter World. All successive Prime Ministers have served in this role.

1991

The Display Centre Opens

On 16 February 1991 the Display Centre was opened by Senator the Hon. Robert Ray, Minister for Defence.

Air Commodore B J Weston, Commander Tactical Fighter Group, in his opening speech acknowledged the support of Caltex, Westfield, the Newcastle Permanent Building Society, Boral and Valley Homes as being significant contributors to the project.

The new Fighter World hangar housed the Fighter Squadron Museum artefacts, the Avon Sabre, Gloster Meteor and a deHavilland Vampire previously on display at the Williamtown main gate, as well as two Mirage III aircraft that had been stored on the base.

2014

RAAF Williamtown Aviation Heritage Centre

Fighter World to perform the role of the RAAF Williamtown Aviation Heritage Centre

In 2014 Fighter World Incorporated signed an agreement with the Commonwealth Government (Directorate of Air Force Heritage) to perform the role of the RAAF Williamtown Aviation Heritage Centre under guidance from the RAAF Heritage Advisory Council.

Present

FIGHTer World Today

Today the displays at Fighter World, located at the home of Air Combat Group – RAAF Williamtown, are fundamental to the region. 

Under the guidance of the History and Heritage Branch – Air Force, Fighter World’s role has been expanded to become a Tier 3 museum incorporating the entire Hunter and New England region. This includes the historically significant bases that were located at Rathmines and Tamworth.

In its current role, Fighter World also attempts to inspire, motivate and educate Australian youth towards a career in the RAAF.