In 1958, Southern Cross Aviation was formed in Toowoomba Queensland to look at the possibility of designing a light aircraft in Australia to compete with the imported light touring and training aircraft which were dominating the general aviation sector of the aviation industry. The conclusion was reached that a four seat, all metal construction touring aircraft, with retractable undercarriage and powered by a 145hp Continental engine was the way to go.
A prototype was completed in 1960 and first flew at Oakey in February 1961. After many hours of testing at Oakey it was determined that extensive and costly modifications were needed to be made before production could be considered, and the Toowoomba Foundry that had constructed the prototype decided to abandon the project. Further testing was undertaken at Oakey but a Certificate of Airworthiness was not issued and its final flight was in June 1961 when it was ferried to Toowoomba and placed in storage. The airframe was acquired by our Museum in 1970, moved to and placed in storage at Moorabbin, until and following following lengthy negotiations, the airframe was returned to Oakey in 2002 on a long term loan to the Museum of Army Aviation, who carried out a restoration program and placed it on display. By the end of the loan period the Southern Cross AC-1 had been removed from the Army Museum and placed in storage on Oakey airport. With arrangements being made to return the aircraft to Moorabbin, the proprietors of Wellcamp Airport at Toowoomba approached our Museum to organise a loan agreement for the aircraft to be put on display in their airport terminal, where it has resided since 2014.