Contributed by: Paul Handel
Date: October 1978
This photo series was contributed by Paul Handel and tells a very interesting story.
In September – October 1978, members of the Australian Military Vehicle Collectors Society (NSW Branch) assisted in the removal and relocation of a Japanese Type 94 Tankette from Sydney to Caloundra in Queensland.
The vehicle was located in the garage of a house in Gladesville, a suburb of Sydney, and had been there for some years. It was purchased by the late Mr Ken Hughes, who at the time was preparing to open a military museum in Caloundra. The tankette was in excellent condition as it had been stored under cover for many years.
The recovery process began with the tankette being pushed out of the garage into the driveway of the house, and then being lined up for lifting by a tilt tray truck equipped with a winch. The truck could not move very far down the driveway and so the vehicle was pushed and winched onto the truck. It was then taken to a service station in Punchbowl which was owned by one of the AMVCS members.
There the tankette was coaxed into life and shortly after Ken Hughes sent one of his trucks to pick it up. The tankette was driven around the garage forecourt a couple of times and then loaded aboard the truck for the long journey to Caloundra.
Some time after Ken Hughes opened his Museum he moved it to Wyong, about one hour north of Sydney. It remained there for a number of years before Ken decided to return to Queensland. He sold part of the museum vehicles to the Australian War Memorial, and Newcastle City Council purchased another portion, in the hope that one day they would expand the Newcastle City Museum.
That was not to be and the vehicles were sold off at auction in 1997.
The tankette was purchased by the Wheatcroft Collection in the United Kingdom, and so the vehicle left Australian shores.
Photo Series © Paul Handel 1978.
Text © Paul Handel 2006.