The Gippsland Armed Forces Museum is one of the top things to do in Sale Victoria. Gippsland Armed Forces Museum is not to be confused with RAAF East Sale base.
This is a small, stand-alone, volunteer-run museum in Gippsland is located at the T.A.F.E campus out at Fulham right next to the West Sale Airport and opposite the Fulham correctional centre (You will find signage was you drive along the Princess Highway Sale).
One of the best Gippsland Museums
The Gippsland Armed Forces Museum was established in around the year 2000 and was originally located right in the town of Sale Victoria. Due to the land being obtained by the government for a redevelopment the museum relocated out to the T.A.F.E campus.
Sale Victoria has had a long history with the RAAF with the West Sale Aerodrome being the original East Sale RAAF base during WWII before being relocated to the current East Sale base that is still operational today. It seems a fitting place for the museum to be in now.
As we pulled up we were greeted by three different, restored aircraft. Seeing them sitting right next to the runway was a sight! We spent some time looking at them and taking photos before.
There is an original engine that had been rebuilt by a local company that sits out the front of this Gippsland Museum. This engine had been used in the Steven Spielberg TV Show ‘The Pacific‘ starring Tom Hanks. Not bad for a little Sale Victoria business!
We made our way inside and I must say I was absolutely stunned at the number of memorabilia that the Armed Forces Museum has. Gippsland Armed Forces Museum specifically focuses on service men and women from Gippsland alone, I think that is why I was stunned, it really hit home how many small communities contributed to all the different war efforts over time.
Three rooms are filled with items that have been donated, gifted or on loan. The care and love put into all the exhibits are absolutely evident as you go from piece to piece.
So much pride and effort have been put into every piece that is displayed by a small number of committed volunteers. I was lucky enough to spend some time with one of those wonderful volunteers. As I walked around all the rooms he was with me telling me how they got some of the items that are on show.
Some are donated by family after their family member has passed, some are given to the museum by an ex-serviceman or woman so people can see them and some have been acquired by the museum themselves. Many of the people that the exhibits are about have been extensively researched by the museum or the have the families input to make sure the information is as accurate as possible.
This amazing gentleman volunteer had my undivided attention and I was so glad he spent nearly an hour with me telling me so many personal stories that weren’t on the information boards. It is volunteers like him that make places like this extra special.
The story I liked the most was the one about the American pilot flying from Laverton to Canberra that went missing. Now you may think that this is not a Gippsland story but it turns into one. Aberfeldy is out the back of Walhalla and is pretty rough terrain.
The pilot and aircraft were finally found in 1948 by a gentleman walking in the bush. At this point, the pilot’s remains were returned to Hawaii and classed as Missing in Action.
Decades passed until a gentleman by the name of Rick, (who is also now a volunteer at Gippsland Armed Forces Museum) took it upon himself to get the pilot the military funeral he deserved. After a long process of DNA testing, the pilot was finally laid to rest again with full military honours at Arlington National Cemetery.
It was this man’s dedication that got that pilot the honours he deserved. I am sure I could have spent hours there listening to every story that could be told and why it is one of the best things to do in Sale if you live here or you are visiting.
I thoroughly enjoyed our visit out to Gippsland Armed Forces Museum and I will be returning with the girls very soon as I do think they will really enjoy it as well. I am so glad we visited and I think it is one of the best things to do in Sale for anyone looking for something to do.
Gippsland Armed Forces Museum Opening Hours:
Saturday to Monday: 10 am to 4 pm
(Other times by appointment)
If a family member of yours served in any of the Armed Forces, Gippsland Armed Forces Museum would love to hear from you. Keeping the memories of our region’s military service alive is important for future generations.
We love our little museums here in Gippsland. They are great family outings or as we found out a great day trip without the kids. If you are looking for things to do in Gippsland these two posts might help you get out and about!
The Gippsland Armed Forces Museum can be accessed 9.7 kilometres west of Sale Victoria via the Princess Highway Sale. The Museum is located off the Princess Highway at the West Sale Aerodrome. You will find the museum signs posted on the highway. More information on the Gippsland Armed Forces Website is available here
Where to stay in Sale Victoria
Why not make a weekend of it in the Sale area. Visit the 90 Mile Beach, and some surrounding towns such as Maffra and Briagolong. Sale has a range of hotels for your stay. Check the map below.
Click through to our Gippsland Museums page for more places to visit
About the Author
Mark has grown up and lived in the Gippsland area all his life. “I think I know a thing or 2 about Gippsland”. When Mark is not working he is out exploring the best of Gippsland with his wife and kids