The Australian National Pinball Museum has ‘hit the target’ in the township of Nhill.
This newly opened popular attraction is conveniently located adjacent to the Nhill Oasis Motel; so you can spend all day at the interactive museum and then fall asleep in your own comfortable bed only a few steps away! The Australian Pinball Museum (www.pinballmuseum.com.au) is open 11am to 9pm, seven days a week,- making it perfect for a weekend getaway, a relaxing stop after work, and a great place to take a break from travelling. The museum is free to enter with the majority of pinballs costing only a $1 to play,- now isn’t that a cheap way to entertain! It draws a mix of people from all ages, groups and walks of life; including those wanting to relive their youth and those who are into retro gaming.
The Australian Pinball Museum is one of the largest public pinball locations in Australia. Currently on display are pinball machines from the past 40 years, with new pinballs constantly being added. Feel like learning the mechanism behind pinball engineering? Well you can at this interactive museum, not only does it contain quality pinball machines that you can actually play, but also amazing autographed pinball artwork, original pinball schematics and other pinball memorabilia. The way this museum has been crafted and put together is like it has been given a little bit of pinball magic.
Some of the featured machines include: Banzai Run, manufactured by Williams in 1988, it is the only pinball machine to feature a full vertical playfield located in the backglass. The rare German model of the KISS pinball, manufactured in 1979 by Bally can also be found here. Newer games are included too, like ACDC Back in Black, manufactured by Stern in 2012 - featuring entire ACDC songs, this limited edition machine had a production run of only 300 machines and is autographed by the game designer, Steve Ritchie. There is also an XMEN Magneto Pinball, which is also manufactured by Stern in 2012,- this limited edition machine is based on the comics and had a production run of only 250; it is also autographed by its game designer, John Borg. Star Trek is the newest addition to the Pinball Museum arriving only a few days ago - It is interesting to see the changes and improvements of pinball in the modern era. There are also numerous other machines on display including the highly collectable and sought after machines Twilight Zone and Creature from the Black Lagoon.
The concept of an Australian Pinball Museum started back in the 1990’s. The Carter family operated an amusement machine business in Adelaide for a number of years, and when that was sold in the mid 1990’s, the vast majority of the machines were put in storage for the last 20 years. This explains the pristine condition of a lot of the machines, as some were only on site a few months and have had very little use. The hope has always been that they could be put on display and played again.
Due to a huge cultural phenomenon of guys wanting a ‘mancave’, pinball machines have undergone a massive increase in popularity. In the USA, pinball machines have undergone a resurgence too,- as the Carter’s had noticed on their trips there for another business. So when space recently became available at the Nhill Oasis Motel, it was the perfect time and place to put the Pinball Museum plan into action.
The vast majority of the pinballs at the national pinball museum came from this family business; with many more pinballs still unavailable for public viewing yet. The space being used became available when the Nhill Oasis Motel, a niche ‘Route 66’ type motel, was doing a massive makeover. One of the free spaces at the front of the motel was allocated for the museum and another for a unique display of crystals, minerals, and fossils. The choice to make the museum interactive was an easy one for the owners as it is their belief that “pinballs should not just be hidden away in collections, but actually played and enjoyed”. Future plans for the non-profit Pinball Museum involve further restoration of some older pinballs that are still in storage, so they can be brought across and added to the playable collection, as well as adding more brand new machines. Donations, including any pinball memorabilia, is always appreciated. Space is expected to be an issue in the future, but the current plan involves rotating the pinball displays so that there is a different line up for repeat guests.
The staff at the museum are very enthusiastic to share their pinball knowledge,- as they are not just collectors, but have been arcade operators and also avid pinball players for many years.
The Australian Pinball Museum is a great place to stop by and have a lot of fun in Nhill, even if it is just for a 20 minute break, and it’s really easy to find with the life size dinosaur out front!
More information available from:
Location: 22 Dimboola Rd (Western Highway), Nhill 3418 (Adjacent to Nhill Oasis Motel)
Cost: Free Entry