Southport Military Museum's Noel Wright beside a mannequin of one of Queensland's forgotten heroes, World War One fighter ace Roderick Stanley Dallas - awarded a Distinguished Service Order, a Bar to his DSC and the Croix de Guerre avec Palme - killed in action on June 1, 1918.
Southport Military Museum's Noel Wright beside a mannequin of one of Queensland's forgotten heroes, World War One fighter ace Roderick Stanley Dallas - awarded a Distinguished Service Order, a Bar to his DSC and the Croix de Guerre avec Palme - killed in action on June 1, 1918.

Museum’s awareness mission

SOUTHPORT Military Museum is built and run on the passion of a small but dedicated group of volunteers.

As of this month they are opening the museum's doors twice as often to share their knowledge free from 9am-midday on the first Sunday of every month.

Groups of six to 20 people can also book any day of the week.

The museum is housed in the heritage-listed Queensland Naval Brigade Drill Hall and is furnished with an impressive collection of pieces from sponsors and families who have donated heirlooms.

"I'm so proud of what we've achieved," said secretary/treasurer Noel "Shiner" Wright.

There are three major displays - Our Forgotten Anzacs (including a number of Queensland heroes), General John Monash and the Allied Commanders, and a miniature plane display comprising about 100 war planes used in the two world wars. The latter was the culmination of 50 years' work and donated by the Warner family of Elanora.

You will hear stories of bravery and see everything from World War I to Vietnam defence force and nursing uniforms, medals, photos and newspaper clippings to swords, guns, trumpets and bugles.

 

Some of the model fighter aircraft from World Wars I and II, donated to the museum by the Warner family of Elanora.
Some of the model fighter aircraft from World Wars I and II, donated to the museum by the Warner family of Elanora.

 

Noel joined the navy in 1966 and served for 49 years (25 full time), including three tours of Vietnam in logistics support aboard HMAS Sydney, and one tour aboard HMAS Vampire as escort destroyer for HMAS Sydney.

"The military has been my whole life, so I am very passionate about it and there's a lot of pleasure in telling people about the history and what went on," Noel said.

The museum building itself, which moved to Owen Park next to Southport Primary School in 1995, began life in Lawson St.

Queensland Open House describes it as "a rare remaining example of an intact 19th-century drill hall", designed after Queensland separated from NSW.

It was built by Coomera's John Fortune in 1890 for the Queensland Defence Force's Moreton Regiment and cost £335.

From World War I to the end of World War II, it served as a light anti-aircraft battery before being used by a number of community groups, including Southport Surf Lifesaving Club from 1931, was donated to council and used by the Queensland Naval Brigade. With the museum's rent having trebled over the past year, Noel said donations were welcome.

Fellow military enthusiasts - you don't have to have served - interested in being part of the Queensland Naval Brigade Historical Association Southport or just organising a tour can contact Noel on 0437 732 575, or call in on the first Sunday of each month (long weekends and Father's Day closed).