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25 March 2012 / leggypeggy

Stop in Holbrook for a sub—submarine that is

Fin of the HMAS Otway

Holbrook in New South Wales was our first touristic stop on our Canberra to Perth expedition.

It’s on the Hume Highway and about 300 kilometres west of Canberra.

Our daughters, various exchange student and I have stopped here several times in recent years. But as we rolled into this small inland town, Poor John admitted that he’d never seen the submarine parked in Germanton Park, near the middle of town.

It’s not a whole submarine, but the outside skin (above the waterline) of the HMAS Otway, an Oberon-class submarine that was decommissioned by the Royal Australian Navy in 1995.

HMAS Otway

The Navy gifted the sub’s fin to the town. This gesture led Holbrook to embark on a fundraising campaign to buy the whole boat to honour its namesake, Lt Norman Douglas Holbrook, a decorated wartime submarine captain and winner of a Victoria Cross. Fundraising fell short, but negotiations with a Sydney scrap yard led to the partial purchase. This submarine installation was dedicated in 1997.

Holbrook is also famous for its single set of traffic lights. These are the only such lights remaining on the highway between Sydney and Melbourne, but they won’t last long. Later this year, the diversion of the Hume Highway around Holbrook will be completed.

Commemorative plaque


Leave a Comment
  1. Chris Tamlin / Mar 26 2012 1:16 am

    I did the first month of submarine training on Otway. We also had to beg from the Holbrook council in 98, when Otama ran aground in Botany bay and severely damaged the rudder. They found the spares in the back of a shed in the museum. No spares anyehere else in the world at that time!


    • leggypeggy / Mar 26 2012 7:41 am

      I remembered that you had some connection with the Otway. Thanks for adding some detail.


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