- Wahlquist, Gilbert
- Biographies and personal histories, Ship histories and stories, Post WWII
- RAN Ships
- HMAS AE2, HMAS Otway II
- March 2006 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Another who saw Otway from the highway was former RAN submarine coxswain Jim Redwood. Jim had retired to Sydney and five years ago decided to move to Holbrook to get involved in the submarine project.
‘They needed someone who knew about submarines,’ Jim told me. ‘I had been sent to England in 1966 to commission Oxley, another of the Oberon class submarines, and spent years as a submariner.’ There is also technical help nearby, provided by Ian Taber, who is retired at Wodonga. Ian was an engineer on Otway. Jim is now curator of the submarine exhibition.
The exhibition building houses the periscope and the control room that is being furnished with a variety of equipment salvaged from Oberon class submarines. This includes a wardroom in pieces. Jim is trying to put it together.
The museum building has a room on general navy history and the museum has recently opened a room devoted to Norman Holbrook.
The centerpiece is a new scale model of BII donated by Holbrook’s close friend and business partner Robert Matthews. Matthews was engaged as managing director to run the Holbrook family printing business in Portsmouth in 1954 and eventually purchased the business, of which he remains chairman. A friend and former submariner, Robert Phillips, made the model. Matthews, aged 84, made his seventh visit to the area in November 2004 to present the model. He also gave the museum a photograph of BII’s 13 crew, never before published in Australia.
‘I am doing this to help the town’s economy and to recognize what the townspeople did to honour Norman,’ Matthews told the Albury Border Mail.
He said that Gundela, now in her late eighties, had returned to her native Innsbruck, Austria.
Holbrook remains today the only town named after a VC winner.
The shell of Otway, which is the drawcard from the Hume Highway, is looking like new after a restoration project by nine members of the RAN’s Fleet Intermediate Maintenance Activity who spent two weeks on the job under project manager Chief Petty Officer Michael Lampshire. The hull was descaled and repainted with black enamel.
The 89.9 metre, 64 man submarine was the centre of a ceremony on 21 April 2005, just 27 years after Otway was commissioned on April 22, 1968.
Otway was named by Her Royal Highness Princess Marina at Scotts’ Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Greenock, Scotland and was launched on 29 November, 1966. She was named after a promontory on the coast of Victoria, which was originally named Cape Albany Otway in 1800 by Lieut. James Grant, Commander of HMS Lady Nelson, after a Royal Navy captain.
Otway was the second of six submarines built for the RAN at Scotts.
She displaced 2186 tons on the surface and 2417 tons submerged. Her length was 89.91 metres overall with beam 8.07 metres. Armament was 8×21 inch torpedo tubes, six bow and two stern. Machinery was twin screws, two English Electric main propulsion motors with two Admiralty Standard Rang diesel generators. Surface speed was 15 knots and submerged 17 knots for short periods. The complement was seven officers, 55 sailors and six under training.
The O class Oberon boats were considered among the best of conventional submarines, being very quiet and almost undetectable when on patrol.
In 27 years of service, the submarine steamed 415,000 miles.
In her present dock at Holbrook, more than 250,000 people see Otway every year, more than would have seen her in her entire naval career.