The Maurice Farman Shorthorn was designed and built in France by a pioneer aeroplane manufacturing company established by the Farman brothers. The Shorthorn became the first armed aircraft to engage in aerial combat during World War I. Its most noted service activity was as a training aircraft with No 5 Australian Flying Corps (Training) Squadron in the United Kingdom and with the Central Flying School (CFS) at Point Cook. It was affectionately known as 'Rumpety' to the students because of the noise it made while travelling over the ground.
The first Maurice Farman Shorthorn was introduced into service with the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) at Point Cook in 1916 and allocated serial number CFS-7. A further four were ordered in 1917 and were allocated serial numbers CFS-16, 17, 19 and 20 and used extensively for training until 1919. One Farman crashed at Werribee during a training sortie, killing Cadet Duckworth, the first airman killed in military flying training in Australia. The remaining aircraft were offered for sale early in 1919 as these aircraft were being replaced with improved types. Mr Graham Carey purchased all four Farmans for his aerial services operating from Port Melbourne.
Powered by a French 80hp Wolseley-Renault air-cooled V8 engine, the Farman is made predominantly of wood and fabric. A complex maze of wires and struts hold the upper and lower wings in place, preventing them from warping in flight.
The aircraft on display, CFS-20, was the first of type into service, and until replacement by more modern trainers in 1919, was used to train pilots in the AFC for service both at home and overseas. In 1919, Mr R.G. Carey of Port Melbourne purchased CFS-20 for use in advertising, joyflights and barnstorming, registered as G-AUBC. Carey flew the aircraft until the 1930's, after which it was stored.
By the 1980's, the aircraft had virtually disappeared, and in 1981, Carey's daughter donated the remaining components to the RAAF Museum. After the completion of the Hawker Demon project in 1986, the museum began the restoration of CFS-20 for display. Containing approximately 30% original parts, and fitted with a 75hp Wolseley-Renault engine, CFS-20 was put