Heritage centre celebrates 100,000 visitors

On 3 June, the Wagga Aviation Heritage Centre (WAGAHC) received its 100,000th visitor since its reopening in 2010.

CAPTION: Wagga Aviation Heritage Centre volunteer Christine Wyatt presents Erika Mendes with a certificate and book set to remember her visit to the centre, while Kieren Johnston and Haig Vartoukian look on. Story by Flight Lieutenant Karyn Markwell. Photo by Peter Wyatt.

Fourth-year medical student Erika Mendes, from the University of Notre Dame in Sydney, visited the WAGAHC accompanied by two fellow medical students.

“I have passed the base many a time without stopping to look at your displays,” Ms Mendes said.

But she and her friends stopped this time because they were drawn to the aircraft on display.

Ms Mendez said she was impressed with the layout of the WAGAHC and its artefacts.

“The building is much bigger on the inside than we’d realised” she said.

To commemorate being the 100,000th visitor to the WAGAHC, volunteer Christine Wyatt presented Ms Mendes with a framed certificate signed by the centre’s officer-in-charge, Squadron Leader Nigel Webster, along with the twin set of books Aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Forceand Units of the Royal Australian Air Force.

“It is due to years of hard work that we are able to welcome our 100,000th visitor,” Squadron Leader Webster said.

“Today we commemorate not just Ms Mendes’s visit, but each of the other 99,999 people who have walked through our doors during the past 13 years, as well as our wonderful staff and volunteers, without whom we could not operate.”

The WAGAHC reopened in October 2010 after having been closed for five years for structural repairs and asbestos removal.

Following its reopening the WAGAHC was open only three days a week due to the limited number of volunteers available.

Between 2010 and 2016, its average number of visitors was about 3400 a year.

In early 2017, following the establishment of History and Heritage – Air Force, and dedicated positions for an OIC and second in charge, the WAGAHC opened six days a week.

The number of visitors steadily grew, with more than 21,500 people walking through the doors in the 2022/23 financial year.







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