PROUD SERVICE: Kathleen Heath in front of the HMAS Tobruk in Darwin around 2002.
PROUD SERVICE: Kathleen Heath in front of the HMAS Tobruk in Darwin around 2002. Contributed

Life on Tobruk leaves fond memories for Fraser Coast sailors

IT WAS not the fastest or most loved ship in the Navy's fleet, but for those who served on it the HMAS Tobruk provided lasting memories.

Petty Officer Trevor McLean served onboard the Tobruk for about four years - in 1982 and 1983 and 1992 and 1993.

"It was a good ship to be on," he said.

"It was a workhorse so it was always at sea and always involved with anything that was happening."

Now living in Hervey Bay, PO McLean's career included a deployment to Somalia for a peacekeeping operation in 1992.

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If we're successful in securing it, the HMAS Tobruk will be scuttled in waters almost halfway between Hervey Bay and Bundaberg.

After being de-commissioned earlier this year, the heavy-lift ship's future has remained uncertain with Tasmania and Asian countries hoping to secure it.

Knowing the boat better than most on the Fraser Coast, PO McLean said sinking the ship here would give a great boost to the region.

"It would be such an asset for tourism and investment here," he said.

Kathleen Heath served on the old girl for a few months in the early 2000s.

Now a teacher at the Hervey Bay Special School, Ms Heath has also thrown her support behind the idea.

"After living and working on the ship it would be wonderful to know that she is benefiting our community," she said.

"I love talking to my students about the Navy and to have the ship close to home it would be extra special."

The Federal Government is expected to announce the future of the ship within two months.


Commissioned April 1981

Last mission was to cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu in April this year for Operation Pacific Assist

Cost $59 million to build