Ex-HMAS Tobruk will continue to serve Australia—now as a tourist destination—when it is scuttled off the coast between Bundaberg and Hervey Bay as a dive wreck.
FILE PHOTO: HMAS Tobruk. Photo by Able Seaman Helen Frank.
Minister for Defence Personnel Dan Tehan yesterday announced the Royal Australian Navy’s former Landing Ship,HMAS Tobruk (II) will be provided to the Queensland Government to be scuttled in the Wide Bay area east of Bundaberg and north of Hervey Bay.
Mr Tehan said today marks the final chapter for a fine Navy ship which has served Australia well since her commissioning in 1981.
“She will be fondly remembered by all those who served in Tobruk and those who have been supported by the many operational and humanitarian deployments she undertook,” he said.
“The scuttling of Tobruk in the Wide Bay Burnett area will be a permanent monument to Tobruk’s proud history and a reminder she served as her motto intended ‘Faithful and Strong’.”
Federal Member for Hinkler and Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Keith Pitt said the hard-fought battle for more than three years had finally paid off.
“Christmas has come early for the Wide-Bay Burnett region. This dive wreck will not only bring domestic and international visitors to the region, it will bring much needed long term, sustainable jobs and a future for the next generation,” he said.
“That has always been the driver behind this campaign: more jobs for this region, with an economic boost of $4 million per year.
“This dive wreck will no doubt become one of the country’s premier diving sites, potentially attracting thousands of divers each year,” Mr Pitt said.
“Our community will now be home to an important part of Australia’s military history that will also attract tourists from around the world.
“I believe that Defence assets that are paid for by the Australian people can, and should, continue to serve the community long after they are no longer of use to the military.
“The Wide Bay-Burnett is the ideal resting place for ex-HMAS Tobruk and I look forward to the opportunities this dive wreck will bring to Hinkler,” Mr Pitt said.
Tobruk had provided 34 years of service to Australia, sailing more than 947,000 nautical miles. She was a multi-purpose, roll-on/roll-off heavy lift ship capable of transporting soldiers, armoured personnel carriers and tanks, delivering them to shore via landing craft or directly by beaching.
Tobruk was deployed on 26 major operations, including the Sinai Peninsula, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Bougainville, the Middle East, East Timor and the Philippines. She was awarded Battle Honours for her East Timor service in 1999..