Birdon have release a limited ex-HMAS Tobruk plaque.
Birdon have release a limited ex-HMAS Tobruk plaque. Contributed

$145 Tobruk plaque offer from scuttling contractor

THERE is one last chance to own a piece of ex-HMAS Tobruk with a limited commemorative plaque being sold by the contractor which sank the vessel.

Birdon spent two years working to sink the navy vessel off the coast of Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, for it to become a world-class dive spot and major tourist attraction with an estimated cost of $10 million.

On June 29 she was scuttled, but it didn't go to plan as the vessel landed on her side, which left some labelling the sinking a "devastating failure".

Birdon disposals manager Trent Raines, was in charge of the operation, and said Birdon was happy a decision had now been made for rectification work to start.

"We're excited a decision has been made as to what's happening with the ship and rectification works will be done as soon as possible, which is all our responsibility," Mr Raines said.

Mr Raines said during the two-year process he was asked a number of times to remove certain items from the ship as a keepsake.

As this was not possible, Birdon decided to salvage some of the gun metal and turn it into a memento.

Mr Raines said the requests were too much to ignore. He said Luke Harding, a Bundaberg local who was an able seaman on the Tobruk, pushed him to have the plaques cast.

"As a commitment to those that served aboard the ship, and in consultation with RAN, Birdon designed a commemorative plaque (similar to the plaques that were cast for HMAS Sydney) and commissioned a foundry based in Esperance, Western Australia to have them cast," he said.

"The plaques have been made only from gunmetal that was removed from ex-HMAS Tobruk, ensuring that in some way, she can live on forever."

The plaque will cost $145 and there were only 120 made (to limit materials taken from the ship) so members of the community wanting one should get in fast.

The first 25 were sold within hours.

He said the gun metal was collected from valves and fittings of the ship, and was made up of 85 per cent cooper, and five per cent each of lead, tin and zinc.

For more information about the plaques email

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