BUCKET LIST: Australian Motorlife Museum: Kembla Grange, NSW

With the motorsport world on hold, and travel bans in place for Australia, you might be forgiven for contemplating a future escape.

Speedcafe.com has worked to develop a list of dream places, events and experiences for fans of motorsport and motoring for you to tick off your Bucket List.


After the devastating bushfires earlier this year, there was a public push to encourage Australians to holiday at home and visit places like the South Coast of NSW which were devastated by one of the country’s greatest natural disasters.

More recently the restrictions caused through the Coronavirus Pandemic have had detrimental effects on businesses and organisations across the nation.

With a little light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, a future visit to this week’s Speedcafe.com Bucket List destination will allow you to kill two birds with one stone and help more than one cause along the way when State Government rules allow.

The Australian Motorlife Museum in Kembla Grange, an hour south of Sydney, was not directly affected by the fires, but is a terrific stop off point for those traveling south from Sydney to the South Coast region.

While it escaped the burn, the museum has been closed for several weeks because of the COVID-19 lockout, which has obviously affected its fundraising capacity.

The Australian Motorlife Museum started life as the Illawarra Motor Museum in the early 1990s and was established as a Tax Exempt Charity by a group of veteran and vintage motoring enthusiasts with a passion for vehicles of all ages, shapes and sizes – two wheels and four.

With a growing list of exhibits, there was a need to expand the museum into its current 4000sq metre facility, making it the second largest motoring and reference library in Australia.

While there are approximately 100 vehicles on display there is also a great history lesson to be had with an eclectic range of displays featuring tools, gramophones, typewriters, scales and telephones dating back to the 1800s.

For automotive enthusiasts of the museum is highlighted by the Paul Butler Collection which is a fine mixture of cars and memorabilia.

For the motorsport fan the standout is the Wayne Gardner collection of bikes and trophies which are on permanent loan from the 1987 500cc World Champion, who grew up just up the road in Wollongong.

The museum also houses one of only two surviving examples of a dozen motorcycles built by David Spencer in Torwood, Brisbane between 1903 and 1910.

Spencer designed the bike and produced all the castings to build it, resulting in one of the earliest vehicles created 100% in Australia, which he personally raced in hillclimbs.

The bike has a 475cc single cylinder engine and is belt driven. It is on display with the patterns and castings used to create it.

The is also the NRMA Heritage display which features an original NRMA roadside service van.

The reference library is made up of thousands of books and magazines, many of which are fragile, requiring them to be off limits to the general public.

Motorlife runs regular events, with the highlight being an annual Expo which is held on the October long weekend, but which is unlikely to proceed this year because of the COVID-19 disruption.

There are also “wheels in motion” events on the second Sunday of every month, which have also been put on hold for a while.

The museum also annually celebrates National Heritage Day which is an initiative of the Australian Historic Motoring Federation and which was to be held this weekend, but has been cancelled because of current Coronavirus restrictions.

The museum is designed to cater for tour groups and has a function room (The Sir Jack Brabham room) with an industrial kitchen and bar area which can be hired. Catering for morning and afternoon tea and lunch can also be arranged in advance and the museum also has a cool gift shop.

It might be a few weeks before the doors are open, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start piecing your trip together.

CLICK HERE for a gallery of the Australian Motorlife Museum.


Website https://www.australianmotorlifemuseum.com/
<Address 94 Darkes Road, Kembla Grange, NSW
How to get there The museum is one hour south of Sydney and then just 1.5kms from the M1 freeway.
Opening Hours & Tickets Tuesday through Sunday from 9 am to 4:30 pm. Adults: $17.50; Concession: $15; Child (6-16): $6;
Child (Under 6) free; Group fees by arrangement (Coach drivers and carers free)Monday viewing and groups visits by prior arrangement only.
Phone +61 2 42 614 100
Email [email protected]
Additional tip Monday visits, groups and meals can be sorted by arrangement

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