FOR THE LOVE OF TOBRUK: Thousands try to claim tickets
EX-HMAS Tobruk will next month host the last of its tour groups before she goes underwater, and locals have swamped the ticketing website in an attempt to snag their spots.
The Tobruk will make its way to its final resting place off the Fraser Coast later this year and tickets to see her before she's sunk have sold out.
Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism general manager Katherine Reid said there were more than 2000 free tickets made available for the community to book and experience the magic of the ex-HMAS Tobruk before it was scuttled.
"All tickets were completely booked for the three days by 9.30am on Friday morning," she said.
"There were over 2500 people accessing the Tobruk page on our website at 5pm on Thursday evening and it did go down for around 20 minutes.
"Luckily, we had six staff on the phones taking bookings as well and then we had the website functioning again by around 5.30pm.
"The Bundaberg community is extremely lucky to be the home of the Ex-HMAS Tobruk and have this behind the scenes access before she goes underwater."
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service said the tours would allow visitors the opportunity to view the ship's galley, engine room, troops' quarters and a walk-through of the iconic tank deck that stretches almost the entire length of the ship from stern to bow, a key feature of the future dive site.
"The project is on track for a June 2018 scuttling, with dates to be confirmed depending on weather and tide windows," they said.
"It is anticipated that divers will be able to visit the dive site within months of a successful scuttling and installation of moorings."
Former Bundaberg woman Shirley Ross said her husband Noel worked on the first Tobruk in 1957 and wanted to visit the ship before it made its way out to sea.
"I've got photos of the HMAS Tobruk in rough seas, almost under waves, and he was on board at that time," she said. "My sister who still lives in Bundaberg was trying to get tickets, and I don't know whether she was successful or not, but I'd like to visit it and the hall of fame."
Mr Ross joined the Tobruk on April 13, 1957, as a navy able seaman and was quickly promoted to leading seaman on May 10.
"He was also in charge of the fire control gunnery and saw an able seaman killed," she said.
"I still have photos of the AA division parading in their white uniforms with the ship's emblem."