Werribee WW II bomber B-24 Liberator wins plaudits

A World War II bomber restored by volunteers in Werribee has made history after receiving international recognition by a group of heritage engineers.

The B-24 Liberator was awarded the recognition by the Institute of Engineers Australia on July 13.

About 50 volunteers have been working up to three days a week to restore the plane since 1988.

The B-24 is an ongoing memorial to the 20,000 Australians who flew and serviced the aircraft during World War II.

Restoration has relied on the generosity of companies, individuals and the 500 members of the B-24 Liberator Memorial Restoration Fund.

The project has not received government funding.

Liberator Memorial Restoration Fund secretary Judy Gilbert said the plane was the first aircraft of its kind to be honoured by heritage engineers.

The restored plane is the only one of its kind in Australia and is one of only eight in the world.

The aviation hangar the plane resides in was also recognised by the heritage engineers, receiving national recognition.

B-24 Liberator Memorial Restoration Fund community liaison officer Tony Muller said the 1940 World War II hangar, which is on the Werribee Satellite Airfield on the corner of Old Farm Road and the Old Princes Highway, was nominated by heritage engineer Owen Peake.

Mr Muller said the awards were great news for the restoration group.

“We survive on visitors and the hangar listing will give us a huge leg up,” he said.

Mr Peake said the aircraft was considered to have played a pivotal role in defending Australia against Japanese forces during World War II.

“The American-designed hangars represented a solidification of the relationship between newly allied Australian and American forces,” Mr Peake said.

“Engineers Australia is proud to recognise these two excellent examples of Australian history and engineering ingenuity.”