$185,000 museum pledge
NATIONALS candidate for Page Kevin Hogan says the aviation museum at Evans Head aerodrome has the potential to be a premier attraction for the region and has promised $185,000 towards improving the facility if the Coalition wins the election.
"I think it could be a major tourism destination that would attract a new kind of tourist to town and add another dimension to bringing in tourism dollars," he said.
President of the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Heritage Aviation Association, Rod Kinnish said the money would allow them to take it to a new level and apply for T-QAL, the Federal Government's highest level of tourism accreditation which would bring with it a range of marketing and promotion benefits.
"Any money invested would be well and truly repaid to the community," Mr Kinnish said.
Mr Hogan said one of the things he hopes the money would bring is displays from the War Memorial in Canberra.
Director of the Australian War Memorial Dr Brendan Nelson was among the 1000 people at the official opening of the museum on Sunday and said the restored Bellman Hangar would be an excellent facility for their exhibitions.
Former Richmond Valley councillor Donella Kinnish gave Mr Hogan a bit of a history lesson on the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome.
She said the origins of the airport can be traced to the 1920s when a Tiger Moth crashed in the area. It was pulled out of the scrub by her grandfather, John Rosolen, and others, using a horse and dray.
"That's when they realised there was a need for an airstrip between Sydney and Brisbane," she said.
They then lobbied for years, got the land surveyed and cleared for a small airstrip. When war broke out it become a natural choice to develop as an RAAF training facility.
"There is so much more to tell here."
Mr Hogan said the Bellman Hangar was already forecast to attract 15,000 visitors in its first year and that the additional funds would allow for further fit-outs and finishing touches.