South Australian
Aviation Museum
New entrance 16 Bedford Street, Port Adelaide

The South Australian Aviation Museum started in 1984 as the South Australian Aviation & Warbirds Restoration Group. In 1995, the name was changed to the South Australian Aviation Museum. Our focus is to collect, record and display the history of civil and military aviation in South Australia. SAAM volunteers have rescued and restored many notable (historic) aircraft, and are currently working on an Avro Anson, a Fairey Battle and our latest aquisition, a Victa Airtourer. To find out more about being a SAAM member, click here.
South Australian Aviation Museum Inc.
66 Lipson Street, Port Adelaide 5250
PO Box 150, Port Adelaide 5015

South Australian Aviation Museum Foundation

The South Australian Museum Foundation was established in 2022. The foundation is incorporated as a public ancillary fund trust and is endorsed as a deductible gift recipient so all donations to it are 100% tax deductible. Our objective in forming the Foundation is to establish it as a prudently managed and safely invested capital base to enable us to anticipate and provide for the major longer-term funding needs of the Museum. This is vital if the Museum is to maintain its inspirational community role of telling the South Australian Aviation story for future generations. For more information about the Foundation's structure, mission, vision and goals, and how to donate, click here to go to the Foundation's website.
South Australian Aviation Museum Foundation
PO Box 150 Port Adelaide 5015

SAAM Library

SAAM's library houses an extensive collection of books and DVDs as well as several archival and reference collections. Access is reserved for SAAM members and bona fide researchers. If you wish to access the library collections, please contact us.
For information on SAAM membership, click here.

The SAAM Library Collection contains:
  • Ansett Transport Industries Ltd Annual Reports: 1958–1979.
  • Aviation books: approximately 3,500
  • Aviation magazines: approximately 63 publications
    (including Aircraft 1922–2004, The Aeroplane 1936–1964)
  • Aviation newspaper clippings: 1946–1975 and from 2005 to date
  • Aviators' Log Books: a collection of more than 30
  • DVDs and VHS Tapes: approximately 700 in total
  • Erich Sommer Collection (ex-Luftwaffe): memorabilia and correspondence
  • Memorabilia: eight four-drawer filing cabinets of civil and military aviation
  • Oral history interviews: tapes and CDs
  • Photographic collection (civil and military): transparencies, prints, negatives and digital photographs – approximately 120,000 (and growing).
  • Raymond Deane OAM: aviation newspaper collection 1929–1938
  • Roy Gropler Collection: memorabilia, photographs and pilot log book
  • Royal Aero Club of South Australia: Minute Books 1926–1980
  • Technical handbooks: approximately 1,000 on subjects such as air frames, engines, operations manuals, etc.


The SAAM Shop is located in the entrance foyer and has a wide range of aviation-related items for sale. Shop items include, but are not limited to: artwork, books and CDs (new and pre-loved), models, kits and novelty merchandise. The Museum Entry Fee is not required if you wish to purchase items from the shop without entering the display hangars.

SAAM History

In 1984 a group of people interested in aviation and the restoration of aircraft formed the South Australian Aviation & Warbirds Restoration Group. The Group was incorporated on 1 August and leased premises behind the former Pier Hotel at Glenelg in the old Ravens Garage for two years. The site housed the Museum's first aircraft, the Avro Anson, as well as the start of our collection of aviation artefacts. The Group became The South Australian Historical Aviation Museum Incorporated on 18 March 1985 (later the name was simplified to The South Australian Aviation Museum Inc.). The first 'Open Day' was held on Sunday 7 July 1985, followed by the first Annual General Meeting in August 1985, with the princely sum of $527 in the kitty!

In October 1986 notice was served on the Museum to vacate the Glenelg premises by 30 November. After a frantic search for new premises, the SA Lion Flour Mill at Mundy Street, Port Adelaide, was secured by lease. We moved into that site on 18 November 1986. The serious job of transforming a very dirty pigeoninfested building into a museum then began. The dedication and effort of members in cleaning, washing, connecting power and securing the building were enormous and ran into hundreds of hours. From then, the setting up of displays and exhibits continued steadily.

The Museum first applied for accreditation by the History Trust of South Australia (now History SA) in 1988, and although it was not granted the Trust gave us advice to improve our displays and presentation, which resulted in a second application and inspection in 1990. This was successful and we became a provisionally accredited museum on 28 June 1990. Full accreditation was achieved in January 2000.

In January 1996 a further move was made when an aircraft hangar became available at the corner of Ocean Steamers Road and Honey Street, Port Adelaide. We opened for business there on 19 January 1997. This transfer was arranged by the then South Australian Government Minister for Transport, Urban Planning and the Arts, the Hon. Diana Laidlaw. The new location officially opened on 16 March 1997. After moving, the Museum's collection was revitalised, a mezzanine gallery was installed, along with updated exhibits including video displays and public entry to some of the aircraft.

The start of the new Port River Bridges project required yet another move. In 2005 the hangar was dismantled and re-erected at its present location in Lipson Street, Port Adelaide. It was refurbished by the SA Government Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure and funded jointly by the State and Federal Governments. Adjoining extensions were added as a workshop and administration areas at the same time. The new premises were officially opened on 20 May 2006 by Mr Rod Sawford, the then Federal Member for Port Adelaide.

Main Hangar
Our main hangar is a World War II PENTAD aircraft hangar. It is a 1943 design exclusive to the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. It differs from conventional aircraft hangars in that it has sloping walls at an angle of eight degrees. This was done to deflect the gale force winds often encountered at some Fleet Air Arm airfields. An interesting aspect of its construction is that most of the frame sections are in six-foot lengths. This made shipping and assembly a much simpler task. The hangar originally went to Darwin in WWII and was used to house Spitfires in the defence of Darwin during some of the 67 Japanese air raids. The building was brought to Port Adelaide shortly after the war and was used as a wool store until 1996. It was occupied by the Museum soon after. In 2006, SAAM was forced to relocate due to the Port River Expressway Project, and the hangar was relocated to its current location. The amazing mural on the front of the hangar is a full-size depiction of the Vickers Vimy flown by Ross & Keith Smith from England to Australia in 1919. It was painted by one of our members (Janice) for the Centennary of the flight.