Former Milton man, Jamie Croker is spending his days painstakingly rebuilding a 74-year-old piece of Australian military aviation history.
A conservator at the Australian War Memorial, Mr Croker is one of two people working on the restoration of a Lockheed Hudson Bomber A16-105 aircraft at the Treloar Centre at Mitchell.
He is working alongside ex-RAAF aircraft technician Kim Wood on the plane that flew reconnaissance and supply missions in the New Guinea theatre in 1942 and 1943.
The plane has gone through many hands and iterations since being declared surplus to requirements in 1947.
Converted for a variety of civilian uses over a peacetime career that lasted for decades, the plane was "used and abused" by a variety of operators who were more concerned with the bottom line than any possible historical significance.
Mr Wood said a big part of his job was undoing the changes that had been made, often fabricating new parts from the original plans from scratch, as seamlessly as possible.
Mr Croker agreed the Hudson, which was last on public display at the then Drage Airworld in Wangaratta almost two decades ago, was "living, breathing history".
Although the restoration, which would have cost a million dollars or more if carried out in a commercial workshop, is due to be completed by the end of June, no decision has been made on when it will go on public display in Canberra.
Mr Croker said it would be almost impossible to cost the AWM restoration because the memorial's conservation staff had been collecting Hudson pieces since well before the plane was acquired in 2002.
"The restoration started about five years ago but it has not been worked on continuously over that time," he said.
While there are no plans for the Hudson to take to the skies again, all the restoration work is being carried to airworthiness standards in the interests of originality.
"Authenticity is very important to us," Mr Croker said.
"These planes are not just display pieces, they are lasting memorials to the men who flew in them and who, on many occasions, died in them."
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