Tobruk will open new ventures
Preparing the former navy supply ship HMAS Tobruk for sinking and as a dive site would create many opportunities for Fraser Coast businesses, Fraser Coast Mayor Chris Loft said.
“There are many Fraser Coast tradespeople and businesses that have the skills needed to prepare the ship as a dive site,” he said.
“They will need people with a variety of skills to prepare the ship for sinking.
“It will be a massive task. Equipment has to be removed, doors and windows welded open; oils flushed from hydraulic lines; the list is almost endless.”
Cr Loft said businesses were already showing an interest in coming to the region to set up dive charters.
“Businesses, such as the Australian Adventure Park at Burrum Heads are already thinking of ways to leverage off the ship,” he said.
Australian Adventure Park operator Brendan Guy sailed on the Tobruk as part of the peacekeeping force that went to Bougainville.
“We’ve started a veterans’ retreat at the park and people who served on the Tobruk will get together to talk over old times,” he said.
“We can also tap into the dive market offering camp and dive experiences.”
Mr Guy hopes a documentary on the ship, including its final voyage and scuttling, can be made.
“We have veterans here who have started a drone business. One of them was a navy clearance diver who trained on the ship. It would be great if a documentary maker could use footage they shoot.
“The documentary would be very useful to promote the area: dive operators could sell DVDs with footage of your dive trip and include the documentary on the ship and its sinking.
“It could be shown at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.”
Cr Loft hoped that veterans who served or sailed on the vessel would start a local group.
“There is an opportunity to set up some kind of information centre with stories on the Tobruk and of the people and places it visited while in service,” he said.
“It adds another dimension to the Military Trail which is being established to link all of the military sites across the region together.
“You only have to look at the success of the Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum and the support for the Duncan Chapman Memorial to see the growing popularity of our military history and a tourism drawcard.
“The Tobruk is one more string in our bow to reach our goal of 200,000 visitors a year in Maryborough and a million visitors a year in Hervey Bay.”
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