Former naval officer to share Tobruk anecdotes

ONE of Australia's former highest ranking naval officers will share anecdotes about his time as commanding officer of the ex-HMAS Tobruk.

Rear Admiral (Retired) Ken Doolan will be a guest speaker at the Fraser Coast Business and Tourism Awards on November 3 at the Beach House Hotel.

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Mr Doolan was shipbuilder's master and commissioning commanding officer of the amphibious heavy lift ship in the early 1980s and in 2007, he published HMAS Tobruk Warship for Every Crisis.

Rear Admiral (Retired) Ken Doolan will be a guest speaker at the Fraser Coast Business and Tourism Awards on November 3 at the Beach House Hotel.
Rear Admiral (Retired) Ken Doolan will be a guest speaker at the Fraser Coast Business and Tourism Awards on November 3 at the Beach House Hotel. Contributed

The ship was decommissioned in 2015 and is due to be scuttled by June next year in waters off the Fraser Coast to create an artificial reef and tourism attraction worth between $2 million and $4 million annually to the region.

He also has the distinction, during a 40-year naval career, of being a past commanding officer of the guided missile destroyer, ex-HMAS Brisbane, which is already a dive wreck after being scuttled in waters off the Sunshine Coast 11 years ago - and he has also written a book about that vessel.

In remembering Tobruk, he will pay tribute to the Australian shipbuilding business which constructed the warship, their Australian workforce and to the men and women who made the vessel a warship for every crisis for 34 years.

Mr Doolan will also mention some of the challenges the warship faced over that long period and some humorous anecdotes about things which happened along the way.

He said despite some early setbacks, the efforts of those who laboured to bring the ship to life laid the groundwork for the Tobruk's three decades of service to the nation.