WELCOME: The ex-HMAS Tobruk entering the Port of Bundaberg.
WELCOME: The ex-HMAS Tobruk entering the Port of Bundaberg.

PHOTOS: Tobruk revealed from the air

THERE were many eyes watching the ex-HMAS Tobruk as it arrived at the Bundaberg Port and one photographer Trevor Walden capture it from his helicopter. 

His unique view shows the naval ship as it enters the river as thousands of supports also lined the banks of the Burnett River waiting in anticipation for the ex-HMAS Tobruk to float in on her final journey. 

The feeling was just as joyous for the people who lined the Hunter River 36 years earlier when she was launched.

Tobruk docked for the last time in preparation for two years of work that will allow her to be sunk off the coast of Elliott Heads and turned into a dive site.

 

SKY HIGH: Trevor Walden captured this unique view of the ex-HMAS Tobruk being towed into the Burnett River from his helicopter.Photo: Trevor Walden
SKY HIGH: Trevor Walden captured this unique view of the ex-HMAS Tobruk being towed into the Burnett River from his helicopter.Photo: Trevor Walden

The people who made the voyage possible were jubilant knowing their hard work had paid off.

Tobruk enters Bundaberg Port: The HMAS Tobruk enters Bundaberg on December 14.
Tobruk enters Bundaberg Port: The HMAS Tobruk enters Bundaberg on December 14.

 

Federal Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Keith Pitt said it was beyond belief to see the ship towed down the Burnett.

"It's a big deal, to be able to physically see her here," he said.

"Everyone's played their part in this and I congratulate all of them.

"You only have to look and see the amount of people standing on the river back to see how important this is to the area.

"I'm stoked and I didn't fight this battle alone."

 

He was pleased for Bundaberg's Rats of Tobruk who already had the Tobruk memorial but would now have another link.

"Nothing good is done easy, and there's still a lot of work to be done yet," Mr Pitt said.

WELCOME: The ex-HMAS Tobruk entering the Port of Bundaberg.
Crowds line the rock wall at the port yesterday. Mike Knott BUN141216TOBRUK10

"We will treat her with the respect she deserves.

"The ship will be prepared and will become a boon for wildlife, tourism and the whole region and we will make international headlines when this ship is sunk."

He said although he won't be diving himself he would watch and count the tourists as they come in and out of the area.

 

WELCOME: The ex-HMAS Tobruk entering the Port of Bundaberg.
WELCOME: Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt, Tourism Minister Kate Jones, Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson, Bundy Mayor Jack Dempsey and Fraser Coast Mayor Chris Loft. Mike Knott BUN141216TOBRUK15

State Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones watched the Tobruk come in from a pilot boat with Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson.

"I'm over the moon," she said.

"This will bring in up to $4 million in economic impact every single year."

Ms Jones said the dive site would be rare because divers could swim through the whole thing giving the region global attention.

Tobruk arrives in Bundy region : The ex-HMAS Tobruk arrives at the Port of Bundaberg.
Tobruk arrives in Bundy region : The ex-HMAS Tobruk arrives at the Port of Bundaberg.

Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson hoped tourists from all over the world would see everything Bundaberg had to offer.

"It will flow on to the rest of the economy which will be fabulous," Ms Donaldson said.

 

SKY HIGH: Trevor Walden captured this unique view of the ex-HMAS Tobruk being towed into the Burnett River from his helicopter.Photo: Trevor Walden
SKY HIGH: Trevor Walden captured this unique view of the ex-HMAS Tobruk being towed into the Burnett River from his helicopter.Photo: Trevor Walden

In regards to the community being able to tour the ship before she is sunk Ms Jones said safety would come first.

"With the 50 initial jobs we have created it's about getting the ship safe," she said.

"I'm happy to look at it but the advice we have from Defence is it wouldn't be safe.

"I'm feeling the same way and want to get out there and have a look inside her, but it will be safety first."

Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism general manager Katherine Mergard said tourism from the Tobruk would flow on to the town.

 

The ex-HMAS Tobruk arrives in the Port of Bundaberg as thousands of people lined the river to welcome the navy ship.
HOME: The ex-HMAS Tobruk arrives in the Port of Bundaberg as thousands of people lined the Craig Warhurst

"The exciting thing for our regions is that dive research shows that dive tourist stay longer and spend more money in the region," she said.

"They spend three times as much in the region then a non-diving tourist."

The Wide Bay region's mayors, Jack Dempsey and Chris Loft, watched the historic moment along with thousands of supporters.

They thanked the advisory committee which had worked for years to bring the asset to both communities.

"You couldn't think of a more respectful way to treat a vessel which has served the nation and the world," Cr Dempsey said.

"Once it's docked in here it will be approximately $10.2m on the work to be done on it - from now to the bottom of the ocean."

 

The ex-HMAS Tobruk arrives in the Port of Bundaberg as thousands of people lined the river to welcome the navy ship.
Thousands lined the Burnett River to watch yesterday's events. Craig Warhurst

Cr Loft said with the capable people in the area he hoped the money who go to support them.

"We are pushing for local contractors," Cr Loft said.

"We have owned this project and we want to keep it for at least the next 60 years."

Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said locals should go out and get their dive licence - something he will look into.

"This won't be an easy dive but it will be a great dive," he said.

"It will complement the other dive wrecks around the state, nation and world."

 

SKY HIGH: Trevor Walden captured this unique view of the ex-HMAS Tobruk being towed into the Burnett River from his helicopter.Photo: Trevor Walden
SKY HIGH: Trevor Walden captured this unique view of the ex-HMAS Tobruk being towed into the Burnett River from his helicopter.Photo: Trevor Walden

Memories flooded back to those who had walked the ship with a number of ex-Australian Navy personal attending the arrival.

Gin Gin resident Robert Reed said he served, as the sergeant major, on the vessel in 1986-90 and had fond memories of his time on board.

"My heart in just banging loudly now seeing her come in," he said.

"The last time I saw her was in 1990 and to have her so close to home is just wonderful."

Another was Kathleen Heath who travelled from Hervey Bay with her daughter who had only ever seen photos came to see it.

She was a medic on board the HMAS Tobruk in 2001-02 and said it was perfect for a dive attraction.

"People who have never seen big ships will be amazed - there are big open spaces and all the messes down the sides," she said.

"Lots of places and multiple levels to explore."

Ending 2016 with Tobruk arriving in Bundaberg can only give a little bit of a sneak peak to what the next year will bring the region.