Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre opened

HUNDREDS of people flocked to Nhill on Friday for the opening of Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre.

Hindmarsh Shire Council infrastructure services director Douglas Gowans estimated between 450 and 500 people packed into the restored hangar for the official ceremony.

Committee president Rob Lynch said people from across Australia attended.

"It was almost overwhelming the support we got from the community," he said.

"We had people from Queensland, Adelaide Air Museum, Essendon Air Museum, Werribee Air Museum and the locals turned out in force - it was just amazing."

Mr Lynch said his favourite piece of memorabilia was a partially restored Avro Anson aeroplane, which he hoped would be ready to taxi along the runways at the centre in years to come.

Hindmarsh Mayor Rob Gersch said the centre would be a major tourist attraction for Nhill.

"I know most people in Nhill but there were so many strangers there," he said.

"It's quite incredible the interest that was shown not only by local people but people who came to Nhill to see the centre.

"There must be something about aviation that tends to attract people."

Cr Gersch said the rich history of the centre was central to the interest it had already generated.

"Something like 10,000 people trained here during the Second World War," he said.

"The aerodrome had as many people stationed there as we did in Nhill itself.

"It's amazing the number of people you run into who say they trained here or their dad did their training in Nhill."

Mr Lynch said a Goroke woman had donated a baking dish that was used when the site was a training base.

"After the war there was a big sale and her father bought the cooking utensils and the baking dishes," he said.

"She's used them for the past 70 years and she's donated that one baking dish.

"I put that into a display cabinet for today and it's little things like that which really make it special."

He said family business Ahrens had committed to donating another $20,000 to the centre on top of the $50,000 it had already given to the project.

Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty said the State Government had invested $354,198, while Hindmarsh Shire Council contributed $50,000.

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