Italian bumper car ride, ex-Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 one of the latest items to pop up at Fremantle Port

We don’t hear half of them, but every time a rare or bizarre item pops up from abroad, it’s likely that the first port of call was one of the connections near Fremantle Port.

A prime example is the new pride and joy of the Aviation Heritage Museum at Bull Creek, an ex-Royal Air Force Tornado GR4, the only one to be seen outside Britain.

Camera IconEx-Royal Air Force Tornado GR4. Credit: Jon Bassett

Ground attack bombers, which could fly faster than the speed of sound, were used during both Gulf Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and, most recently, against ISIS in Syria.


They retired in 2019, and a handful has been made available to museums, including the one that debuts this weekend (June 26) as Bull Creek’s newest exhibit.

The plane arrived in parts from the UK in January but stayed at a site in North Fremantle for several weeks as the aircraft came out of quarantine. It made the trip to Bull Creek – still in parts – in May.

A team of engineers from the UK reassembled the Tornado this week to be displayed alongside the museum’s other top attractions.

“We have a Lancaster in the collection; we have a Spitfire in the collection,” said museum volunteer Don Crane.

Camera IconA Spitfire outside the Aviation Heritage Museum in Bullcreek. Credit: Chris Parry/Chris Parry

“These are very iconic aircraft. This (Tornado) is now the museum’s future moving forward with new exhibits.”

The southern suburbs are home to freight forwarding companies such as EES Shipping, which regularly handle bizarre arrivals, such as a bumper car track built and recently imported from Italy.

WA Day revelers may remember the ride as rolled out as part of the Carnival-style celebrations held on the Burswood waterfront on June 6.

Tornado GR4

And for anyone who has ridden a dodgy bumper car at an agricultural show in the last 30 years, there’s now a bumper track in WA that doesn’t look like it belongs in the 80s is remarkable.

EES director Brian Hack said it took about six months to import the show ride, but the wait was worth it for the operators and ride enthusiasts.

Camera icon This bumper car ride took nearly six months to import into WA. Credit: Lisa Barnes/delivered

“Each of the bumper cars has a drift mode – a bit like Tokyo Drift style, and from the comments, I heard that day, everyone thought it was pretty cool,” said Mr Hack.

.Dodgem cars aren’t the only quirky objects ESS helped bring into WA. Mr. Hack cited food trucks, Schedule 9 drugs, and old-school Formula 3 cars as random imports he’s seen.

“A few years ago, we helped one of our buddies bring in an old Formula 3 car from the 1970s. This guy paid quite a bit of money for it… it was a cool piece of equipment,” he said.

Schedule 9 drugs are for medical or scientific research only and are illegal to manufacture otherwise, possess, or sell, posing important and sometimes humorous challenges.

“A few years ago, there was a medical company that worked with the Singaporean government to test plasters for burn victims, but they had medicinal grade cocaine,” said Mr Hack.

.”So we took this thing to the airport, and as is the captain’s right, they can refuse goods if they want, and they said, ‘I don’t want to take this – I know what it is’.

“I had taken some clients to the pub and had a few pints, so I called my mum and said, ‘Hey, do you think you can go pick this up’… to this day, she still has don’t make me forget.”

John D.Mayne
I love to write. When I wasn’t writing for my school newspaper or college blog, I was writing personal essays and journal entries. Then I discovered I loved to write. In college, I wrote for my school paper and my campus radio show. I started doing freelance writing for the Huffington Post in 2009. Then, I joined the team at Newsmyth as a writer/editor. Now, I spend most of my time writing for Newsmyth and as a guest blogger on a handful of other blogs. When I’m not writing, I like to read, travel, cook, and spend time with friends.