Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Defence Hon. Dr. Brendan Nelson MP

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03 Oct 2001


Dr Brendan Nelson MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, announced today that the decommissioned submarine, OTAMA, would be transferred to the Victorian community of Hastings.

Speaking from Hastings, Dr Nelson recognised the ‘passionate enthusiasm’ of the Western Port Oberon Association, which had been supported by a detailed three-volume submission. The Association will pay $50 000 for the submarine.

‘Although Hastings was the only bidder for this remarkable piece of Australian Naval history, it was subjected to rigorous examination by a panel within Defence, headed by Commodore Denis Mole, a former Captain of OTAMA.

‘I can think of no finer place for it to be displayed for the education and enjoyment of future generations of Australians’

‘In this the centenary of federation, it is appropriate that $500 000 of Defence federation funds be committed to this project as a means of preserving Australia’s finest submarine heritage in a community that has worked so hard to acquire it’, said Dr Nelson.

Dr Nelson said that $500 000 will be granted to the Western Port Oberon Association to assist it with the considerable costs of towing OTAMA from HMAS Sterling in Western Australia and moving it onto its waterfront land-based display.

Mr Max Bryant, president of the Western Port Oberon Association, received from Dr Nelson OTAMA’s Bell and Clinometer as the first symbolic handing over. The submarine will be the centrepiece of a Naval Memorial Park.

‘Securing OTAMA has given Hastings the centrepiece for a world class tourist attraction,’ said Max Bryant. ‘It will not only ensure the memory of HMAS OTAMA will be preserved but will create significant employment and business opportunities in the Hastings area in addition to increasing tourism on the Mornington Peninsula.’

OTAMA, with a North Queensland Aboriginal name meaning ‘dolphin’, is the last of the famous ‘O’ boats that served the Royal Australian Navy for more than 30 years. A complement of 63 submariners served at any one time on OTAMA, a 90 metre long vessel with a range of 9000 nautical miles and a submerged speed of 17 knots.

Dr Nelson commended Mr Greg Hunt, Liberal candidate for Flinders, on his tireless efforts to secure OTAMA for Hastings and urged all who wanted to see the economic and social development of the region to now get behind the hard work of preparing for its relocation.

‘Who could possibly not support the 40 jobs that will be created by this project?’ asked Dr Nelson.

‘In a world of unprecedented uncertainty, it is even more important we both understand and respect our past as we face the future. The finest Australian naval traditions stand behind OTAMA. It will now serve Australians for many generations in the custodianship of the people of Hastings’, said Dr Nelson.

- ENDS -



Note to Editors/Chief of Staff:

Stills and vision of Oberon Class Submarines is available from the Departmental Contact at the end of this media release.


Media Contacts: Nigel Catchlove (Office of Hon B. Nelson MP) 0407 100 521

Max Bryant (Western Port Oberon Association) 0438 023 648

Russell Wescombe (Department of Defence) 0418 366 967





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