THE Uiver memorial plane has been released from the Albury Council’s ownership.
Uiver Memorial Museum Group members joined Albury mayor Kevin Mack and Frank Zaknich early yesterday to sign documents that pave the way for the community-based organisation to begin the restoration job.
The transfer occurred on the eve of celebrations marking the 80-year anniversary of the original Uiver plane making an emergency landing in Albury during the London to Melbourne air race.
The museum group’s chairman Pieter Mol the goal was to have a fully restored plane as the centrepiece of a museum in 10 years.
“We don’t want it to have to go back on to poles and in 30 years time become a wreck again,” he said.
“We want it to go into a museum, put something around it and make it relevant.
“We want it to be an asset to the community as a whole.”
The group is assessing its options to carry out the massive project.
“We need a sufficiently large building to put the aeroplane in, pull it apart and put it back together again,” Mr Mol said.
“They are not that easy to find.
“We wouldn’t rule out going to a greenfield site.”
The Uiver memorial was displayed outside Albury Airport from 1979 until 2002 after it had been restored by the city’s Rotarians.
It appeared destined to be sold to Queensland before the council accepted the group’s bid in March last year to restore and house the plane.
The Council has provided a $300,000 interest-free loan for the project.
“It’s a good outcome for the Uiver committee and a way for us to move on,” Cr Mack said.
“It’s a chance for a community organisation to make the most of this artefact. “It’s dragged on for too long.
“This group wanted to get its hands on the plane and it is fantastic to see.”
Cr Mack said the “highly credentialled” group was serious about restoring the plane.
“We wouldn’t be investing money in a hangar or $300,000 if we didn’t think they had the capacity to perform the function required,” he said.
“They are very passionate about this.
“They have got ownership of the plane and we will support them where we can.”