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27 August, 2021

Toys for all ages

IT’S THE stuff that’s made for the ‘Boy’s Own’ Annual, 130 restored tanks and armoured carriers along with some very serious artillery hardware. The doors will be flung open this weekend at the Australian Armour and Artillery Museum for the 7th annual AusArmourfest, a great family fun weekend where you can live your wildest dreams and go for a spin in a fully restored tank or armoured vehicle.

By Peter McCullagh

Arthur Ward (3 years old) had the opportunity to get up close with the Tiger Tank prior to it’s unveiling at the Australian Armour and Artillery Museum. PHOTO: Peter McCullagh

The showpiece for the weekend is a restored World War Two German Tiger Tank. Restoration teams from the Australian Armour and Artillery Museum at Smithfield have laboured for the past six years sourcing parts from Russia and Europe to restore this battle monster back to almost original condition.

This latest restoration brings the total number worldwide of restored German Tiger Tanks to 9 from approximately 1350 built during the war.

This 50-tonne beast was one of the most feared German tanks of the war, due to its almost impenetrable armour and 56-calibre gun with deadly accuracy and precision. This tank was used on the Russian Front as well as the North African Campaign.

Kurtis Lowden from the Armour and Artillery Museum believes the museum attracts visitors not just because of the heavy military equipment.

“We get so many people, middle-aged and older come through each week. For some it’s a chance for them to connect the dots. Something their grandfather or dad had said, or they have served. To see up close and understand what dad or grandad was talking about attracts many of our visitors.

PHOTO: Peter McCullagh
PHOTO: Peter McCullagh

“We also have many vets come and visit. Sometimes they recognise a tank or armoured carrier they had actually travelled in, our used in conflicts. For them it’s part of their service record and allow their families to understand more about their service,” Lowden said.

The museum boasts one of the largest collections of military vehicles and artillery cannons in the world, attracting thousands of visitors from interstate and before COVID visitors from overseas were a regular sight at the museum.

This weekend’s AusArmourfest is a great opportunity for locals to explore this massive collection. Running all weekend, food vans, rides in military vehicles as well as interpretive talks allowing locals a rare insight into this amazing collection of 20th and 21st century military machinery.

For the kids and young at heart the opportunity to get up close and personal with these brutes is a temptation that most cannot resist.

For details regarding the 7th annual AusArmourfest visit their website, www.ausarmour.com


PHOTO: Peter McCullagh

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