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A Museum of Antique Engines and Vintage Machines

Going down to the sandy beach of Ramla Bay, limits of Xaghra, from Victory Square in Xaghra, one passes by a garage in Triq Gnien Xibla, which at first sight looks like any other normal garage of a mechanic. Only the sign on the front makes the passer by stop in curiosity and have a look inside.

Unless there are visitors inside being accompanied by the owner, one is able to see a gentleman standing in the doorway with a smile on his face and waving his greetings to passers by. This man is none other than Carmel Hili, a 72 year old retired mechanic from Xaghra. Soon after the war ended he started collecting war souvenirs ranging from big armoured cars and military vehicles to small buttons worn on military uniforms.

Once inside, the visitor is regaled with what Helen Keeley describes in her article in “Old Glory Magazine” a “hidden treasure on the Maltese island of Gozo” and which Mark Adams deemed fit to report upon extensively in the magazine “Stationery Engines”.

What is interesting is that Mr Hili keeps on giving proper maintenance and care to everything on show. An armoured vehicle, which saw service in the North African desert, stands in the open yard behind the garage and is still in good running order although it will not be made use of again. There are Army, Naval and Air Force items belonging to the Allies and the Axis, all bringing back memories of dog fights in the air, battles on the ground and even a diver’s suit for use on the bottom of the seas. Besides these war relics, there is an assortment of industrial engines and machinery, and utensils which have passed on into history.

There are many models of machines, ships and aeroplanes all built by Mr Hili himself. A model of the wartime Spitfire even runs across the garage hanging on a line.

There is so much to see but unfortunately space is very limited and most items are missed by the visitor because of the way everything is stacked. This is something which hurts Mr Hili and he complained that he does not find any assistance from the authorities be they national or local. This is a real pity as, even finding out the place, most of the treasure inside remains hidden.

Mr Hili appeals to whoever owns war relics or items of historical interest to contact him as his aim is to continue adding to his collection which one day he hopes will be turned into a proper museum for the younger generations to appreciate the past. Anyone wishing to contact Mr Hili may send his message to the editor of this website.

At Xaghra website we have made a great effort in giving you an insight into this marvellous collection in pictures but what we managed to do is very little of what is there to see. Nevertheless we hope that you will enjoy going round these pictures and should you ever happen to be in Xaghra, you will be able to pay a visit which we assure you is both worthwhile and enjoyable.

No fee is payable but a small tin before leaving the premises asks for a voluntary donation which goes to the less fortunate members of society.

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