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Then. Now. Always. Centenary of The Royal Australian Air Force Artwork

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Centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force Artwork

2021 marks the Centenary of Air Force. From its modest beginnings in 1921, Air Force has grown into a potent, world class Air Force which Australia relies upon in both conflict and peace.

As part of the commemoration of this historic event, Air Force Shop approached esteemed and award-winning aviation artist Drew Harrison and commissioned him to create an artwork that would truly memorialise this magnificent milestone.

Spanning the first 100 years of Air Force - from its beginnings at Point Cook in 1921, wars peacetime to the present day and beyond, Drew’s resulting masterpiece is painted on three highly-detailed panels measuring 1 metre x 1 metre.

Featuring 40 essential aircraft in incredible accuracy, the stunning image also carries a poignant engraved message from Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, AO, DSC, Chief of Air Force. Hover over any of the panels for a closer look.

As well as the limited edition number for each print the engraving carries a special metal disc cut from the first F/A-18 ever built and flown in Australia, as shown.

Now, exclusive, high-quality, limited edition reproductions of this modern masterpiece, are being made available for public display in a variety of sizes, complete with the engraved message from the Chief of Air Force.

However, only the first 100, large-format reproductions will bear the metal disc of from A21-1, the first F/A-18A built and flown in Australia. Secure yours here now

Then. Now. Always.

Drew Harrison's masterful piece has captured 40 of the most iconic aircraft of the RAAF history in exquisite detail.
Click on the images above to for a closer look.

Canvas 1

A10 Fairey IID

A1 de Havilland DH9a

A1 Hawker Demon

A17 de Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth

A2 Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a

A24 Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina

A29 Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk

A46 CAC CA-13 Boomerang

A5 Westland Wapiti Mk.IIA

A58 Supermarine Spitfire LF.Mk.VIII

A68 North American P-51K Mustang

A72 Consolidated B-24J Liberator

A9 DAP Beaufighter Mk.21

Supermarine Walrus Mk.II

Short Sunderland Mk.III

Avro Lancaster Mk.III

de Havilland DH-98 Mosquito FB.Mk.VI

Canvas 2

A84 English Electric Canberra Mk.20

A2 Bell UH-1H Iroquois

A21 McDonnell Douglas F/A-18

A3 Dassault Mirage III-O(F)

A4 de Havilland DHC-4 Caribou

A65 Douglas C-47B

A77 Gloster Meteor F.8

A8 General Dynamics F-111C

A9 Lockheed AP-3C Orion

A94 CAC CA-27 Sabre Mk.30

Canvas 3

A35 Alenia C-27J Spartan

A39 Airbus A330-203 KC-30A MRTT

A30 Boeing 737-7ES E7A Wedgetail

A47 Boeing P-8A Poseidon

A41 Boeing C-17A Globemaster III

A97 Lockheed C-130J Hercules

A46 Boeing EA-18G Growler

A54 Pilatus PC-21

A27 British Aerospace Hawk Mk.127

A57 Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton

A36 Boeing 737-BBJ

A35 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II

Artist's Statement

As one of the oldest Air Forces in the world The Royal Australian Air Force has a long history through times of both war and peace. The RAAF Centenary is a time to reflect on the honour and tradition of this proud service. It is also opportune to look beyond 2021 and how the dedicated personnel adapt to ongoing challenges and maintain Australia’s peace and security into the future.

Read Drew's full statetment

View more of Drew's work on his website.


We are pleased to be able to offer a range of limited limited edition reproductions of Then. Now. Always. Centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force for purchase by organisations and individuals alike.

Drew Harrison's hand painted artwork has been meticulously scanned by fine art reproduction specialists to ensure the resultant prints are faithful to the original in detail and colour. Each replica is printed on Hahnemühle Daguerre Canvas - a heavyweight, bright white poly-cotton inkjet canvas with a fine, uniform surface texture – it is acid and lignin-free. Combined with quality pigment inks each piece conforms to the ISO 9706 standard requirements for permanence – imbuing them with museum quality - and is guaranteed not to fade for 75+ years.


RAAF Centenary 3 Frame Limited Edition Canvas Artwork

Limited to 100 copies, this superb, large-format reproduction of Drew Harrison's modern masterpiece is as impressive as it is historical. Faithfully replicated using the latest scanning and printing methods and framed in a modern, shadow frame, the three-piece set is a one-to-one scale faithfully represented version of the original.

An ideal show-piece for corporate boardrooms, foyers or military messes, each canvas in this imposing set measure 1 metre x 1 metre.

Only 100 available

Restricted to only 100 copies, this magnificent asset carries its limited edition number on the engraved message plate from Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, AO, DSC, as well as a disc of metal taken from the leading edge extension of the F/A-18A 'Classic' Hornet A21-001, the first Australian-built Hornet.


A21-001 Leading Edge Extention Section


RAAF Centenary Large Limited Edition Canvas Artwork

A slightly smaller replica of the artwork, but no less inspiring, the three panels of the original have been combined into one canvas for this edition. Measuring an impressive 1800mm x 600mm, this high-quality reproduction is also presented in a shadow frame with an engraved message plate.

Only 250 available

Only 250 of this version of Drew Harrison’s sensational visual history of Air Force’s last hundred years will be offered for public display, with its limited edition number, along with the message from Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, AO, DSC, inscribed on the centrally located black metal message plate shown. Included on the plate is a disc of metal from a 452 Squadron Spitfire Mk VIII, generously donated by the Darwin Aviation Museum.

For smaller areas we are offering the print at 1200mm x 400mm. This single canvas artwork maintains all the details of the original masterpiece. Ready for display in a black shadow frame.



RAAF Centenary Medium Limited Edition Canvas Artwork

For smaller areas, such as at home or office, just 250 superb reproductions measuring 1200mm x 400mm, are being made available. A single canvas artwork, this version of ‘THEN. NOW. ALWAYS.’ also maintains all the details of the original masterpiece, in a black shadow frame, but at a more compact size.


As with the larger editions, Chief of Air Force’s message and the edition number are both engraved onto the metal message plate and only 250 prints are to be released. A special addition to each plate is a small piece of metal from a Spitfire Mk VIII of 452 Squadron which was part of Australia's aerial defence based in Darwin.

The metal has been generously donated by the Darwin Aviation Museum.


Air Force 100 Limited Edition Medallion Collection

The stunning Air Force 100 Limited Edition Medallion collection plays a special part in the commemoration of the Air Force Centenary in 2021.

Six iconic aircraft from both the past and present are featured in incredible detail also by Drew Harrison – artist of the Air Force 100 Centenary commemorative paintings.


A8 F-111 C

A21 F/A-18B

A30 DC-3

A84 Canberra Mk.20

A2 UH-1 Iroquois

A84 Canberra Mk.20

A3 Mirage IIIO

A77 Meteor

A94 CAC Sabre

A8 Beaufighter

A27 Hawk 127

A34 C-27J Spartan

A46 EF-18G Growler

A35 F-35A Lightning II

A30 E-7A Wedgetail


A54 Pilatus PC-21

A57 MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System

A97 C-130J Hercules

A41 C-17A Globemaster III

A47 P-8A Poseidon

A9 AP-3C Orion

A52 de Havilland D.H.98 Mosquito

A26 Short S.25 Sunderland

A5 Westland Wapiti

A58 Supermarine Spitfire Mk. VIII

A2 Supermarine Walrus

A72 Cosolidated B-24 Liberator

Point Cook circa 1921

A24 Consolidated PBY Catalina

A46 CAC Boomerang

A66 Avro Lancaster

A1 Hawker Demon

A17 de Havilland D.H.82A Tiger Moth

A29 Curtis P-40 Kittyhawk

A68 CAC Mustang

As one of the oldest Air Forces in the world The Royal Australian Air Force has a long history through times of both war and peace. The RAAF Centenary is a time to reflect on the honour and tradition of this proud service. It is also opportune to look beyond 2021 and how the dedicated personnel adapt to ongoing challenges and maintain Australia’s peace and security into the future.

Looking to the future while reflecting on a rich past is a formidable ideal to translate into a singular work of art! After discussions with the Brandnet team we progressed through several preliminary concepts involving a pilot as central figure either surrounded by historical vignettes or flying in formation with other aircraft. It did not take long to realise these could not provide the scope or versatility for 100 years of history. Even so, that image of a pilot had an iconic presence.

Having painted many traditional Aviation Art paintings, including works in the RAAF Heritage Art Awards, I have a great passion and interest in aircraft. However, that genre of painting could not adequately encompass the scope and broad appeal for this particular event. I believe the transition to a modern contemporary style of artwork is a far more pragmatic and appealing approach and strikes a balance between multiple requirements.

I have taken cues from the RAAF100 logo imagery and the phrase THEN-NOW-ALWAYS. The design is split into a triptych containing three individual canvases that reflect this transition of heritage. At the centre of the composition is a single pilot figure. This unifying element is intended to represent all the invaluable personnel who have contributed to the Air Force’s fabric.

The overall narrative tracks from bottom left to top right across all three panels, starting with the origins at Point Cook (1921) and leading up to the current expansion into space (2021). Between these two points there is a pixelated grid that could be interpreted as ‘building blocks’ or connect to the idea of technological advance. I also view these squares as a kind of unifying tapestry, the interconnection of ideas, people and aircraft. Sepia tones give an historical context before moving across into the familiar RAAF deep blues. ‘Our’ pilot is looking in this direction - to the future. Each of the canvases will comprise 10 x 10 squares equating to a significant 100 within the individual panels.

I have also worked hard to include other relevant and important symbology from the RAAF crest, to roundels and an overlaying grid of Head Up Display graphics, as well as a map of Point Cook. These devices help to unify many of the elements and link the varying layers and dimensions of the work. Also in the visor is the reflection of an eagle representing the basic ideal of flight and association back to the RAAF badge.

Last but not least - the aircraft! By introducing a grid of squares this has helped to layer numerous aircraft within the composition. First and foremost are three RAAF icons from different generations F-35, F-111 and P-40 spread across the panels in a pseudo formation. These aircraft are three dimensional, elsewhere are over thirty aircraft from 100 years of service shown in plan views. While it is not necessary to have included every operational type I have aimed to include some of the most important aircraft in RAAF history as well as a few popular favourites.

My primary consideration is to hopefully create an image to honour 100 years of Air Force. I believe it is a unique design of broad appeal, encompassing many essential aspects key to the Royal Australian Air Force’s heritage and persona.

Drew Harrison 2021.