HISTORIC: The HMAS Tobruk preparing to be sunk in the waters of Hervey Bay, 20 nautical miles from Hervey Bay and Bundaberg.
HISTORIC: The HMAS Tobruk preparing to be sunk in the waters of Hervey Bay, 20 nautical miles from Hervey Bay and Bundaberg. Alistair Brightman

The great descent of Tobruk

THE ex-HMAS Tobruk was finally laid to rest on the ocean floor in the waters off Hervey Bay 1688 days after the concept of a local diving shipwreck attraction was first floated in Parliament house.

Four years of tireless work, campaigning and fundraising from hundreds of committed individuals led to the vessel making her final descent to the bottom of the ocean, about 25 nautical miles from Hervey Bay Friday morning.

The once-in-a-lifetime experience was witnessed by hundreds as more than 80 vessels of varying sizes circled the 500m radius around the scuttling site.

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Hinkler MP Keith Pitt, who launched the Tobruk campaign, said it was a historic day for the region.

"It has the potential to bring divers from around the country, and the world, who will stay, eat and shop in our region. More tourists in the Hinkler electorate means more jobs for locals, and more money into the economy," he said.

"Although Tobruk's service to the nation has come to an end on the water, its new life under the water will provide long-term, sustainable, local jobs in the tourism sector in Hinkler, for generations to come."

Dozens of people on board more than 80 vessels watched as the sinking finally began at 11.20am after being delayed twice.

It took about 40 minutes to completely disappear under the surface but not before leaving a final impression and turning on its side.

It was declared sunk about 12.02pm. The wreck is expected to bring a surge of tourists to the region and boost the local economy by up to $5 million per year.



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