The Bofors gun in front of the old Meteorological building
Russell Cook ... resigning as president of the Burnett War Museum

August 13, 2014

Tourists hoping to get a glimpse of the wartime past at Kingaroy Airport are going to be disappointed; the World War II buildings that had been home to the Burnett War Museum are no longer open to the public.

Retiring museum president Russell Cook said the displays – including rifles, photographs and uniforms – have been relocated to Heritage House in Yarraman.

He told today the Bofors gun, currently located in front of the old Meteorological building, and the 25 pounder artillery piece near the former Motor Pool building, would also be eventually shifted to Yarraman.

Mr Cook said he had health problems but he also blamed the South Burnett Regional Council for the decision to find a new home for the collection.

“They have told me they will not do any repairs to the buildings and if I don’t, they will put a bulldozer through them,” he said.

“That was the final straw so I moved everything. They won’t spend a penny on them.”

Mr Cook said he would continue to do research and restoration work on the site, but it would not be open to the public.

Several vehicles would also remain stored there as there wasn’t enough room at Yarraman.

Mr Cook said he would like to express his gratitude and thanks to the many businesses who had made donations of money, time and goods to the museum.

“These donations were greatly appreciated. An extra special thanks to Allan Hibbs, from Kingaroy Firearms, for his efforts and expertise over the past 20 years,” he said.

“A special thank you, too, to those who have supported the museum in so many ways over the past 20 years.

“Your thoughts and kind words of encouragement will stay with me forever.”

SBRC Economic Development manager Phil Harding said he believed Mr Cook had experienced problems because of a lack of volunteers.

He said Council leased the area to the Burnett War Museum.

Under the terms of the lease, Council had some responsibilities and the museum was also responsible for certain things.

Mr Harding said Council could not stop the museum moving the displays.

“That’s his decision. We haven’t been part of it,” he said.

Related articles:

The 25 pounder outside the former Motor Pool building
One of the buildings on site obviously in need of repairs
The former Ambulance Station
In happier times ... visitors inspect displays of militaria which were formerly housed in the old Airport Morgue
The Burnett War Museum was packed with visitors during a special open day in 2010
The Morgue and the Motor Pool building are some of the last remnants of the wartime base
Downer Position Vacant - click here
Downer Position Vacant - click here