Wentworth Military Museum’s $ 34 million dream of sharing Australia’s military history


With the Wentworth Military Museum’s collection surpassing its current site, volunteer curator Russell James hatched an ambitious plan to build a $ 34 million Discovery Center to safely preserve part of the war history of the Australia.

Mr James, avid collector and grandson of WWII physician Jimmy James, was entrusted with the responsibility of an extensive collection of military memorabilia collected and bequeathed to the South West New Wales Museum of South.

With a premium and passionate space to share more of Australia’s war history with younger generations, Mr. James wants to create a flagship museum.

Wentworth Military Museum volunteer curator Russell James is an avid collector.(Provided: Wentworth Military Museum)

“The new Wentworth Discovery Center includes ambitious plans to build a state-of-the-art museum to be located in the new $ 9.2 million Wentworth Airport,” said Mr. James.

According to the plan, the center would display the museum’s vast collection and include a “Wings over Wentworth” sound and light show and aircraft exhibit, an interactive weapons training simulator and a “holographic ocean ghost experience. »Fully immersive where visitors can walk among sunken warships and wrecks.

An underwater photo of a wreck with a school of blue, yellow and black fish swimming around.
Sharing stories about the shipwrecks of war will be part of the interactive experience.(Provided: Tracey Olive)

It would also have a learning center, a conference hall and a restoration workshop where the donated mobile exhibits could be maintained and restored.

The current museum’s Marching Matilda experience, a one-of-a-kind digital audio tour sharing stories and the history of the collection, would also be included.

The experience shares the story of Mr. James’ grandfather who served as a medic in WWII and operated not only on wounded Australians but also on Japanese soldiers.

Mr James hopes to celebrate the opening of the new facility in four years, on what would be Jimmy James’ 100th birthday.

Sepia photo of a soldier wearing a soft hat
Jimmy James was the first of four generations of the James family to contribute to the collection. (Provided: Wentworth Military Museum)

“The Discovery Center is something that would certainly have an impact on many generations to come and would be a great legacy for our military history.”

A spokesperson for the Wentworth Shire Council said the council was eager to see how the project unfolds.

“A project like this has the potential to be an asset to the region and lead to increased tourism to the Wentworth Shire Council,” they said.

Mr James said he hoped the center would attract public funds and philanthropic donations.

In the meantime, he buys lottery tickets in an attempt to bring his dream to life.

war flags and uniforms on display
A small part of the museum’s collection is on display.(Provided: Russell James)

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