Tickets for ex-HMAS Tobruk tours sold out
TICKETS for a guided tour of ex-HMAS Tobruk have sold out within five hours of going on sale with fans clamouring for a closer look at the vessel.
Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson has been championing the idea of a tour since the region won the rights to sink the ship as world-class dive site.
"There has been a lot of interest from the members of the public to access the ship before it is scuttled as a dive site,” Ms Donaldson said.
"This is something I have been pushing for since the arrival of the ship.
"The ship had to be made safe first before it could be opened to the community.”
When tickets selling out yesterday, Ms Donaldson assured those who missed out that the National Parks, Sport and Racing department was looking into opening up more spaces on September, Saturday 16 and Sunday 17.
IT'S the $10-million project that has garnered the attention of people from far and wide and now, there will be a chance to see the ex-HMAS Tobruk up close before it becomes part of an artificial reef and world-class dive site.
The Queensland Government will host a community open weekend on board the vessel in September, allowing registered guests to take a guided tour of the main decks and through the bridge of the ship.
Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles said the open weekend was an opportunity for the community to walk the decks of ship before she is transformed into a world-class dive site and reef.
"There has been tremendous public support for the ex-HMAS Tobruk project and demand from members of the public to access the ship before it is scuttled as a dive site,” Mr Miles said.
"We are extremely happy to announce that we can open part of ex-HMAS Tobruk to the community.”
Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson said the community open weekend would also allow ex-service personnel to be reunited with their ship before she is scuttled in Wide Bay.
"It is important that the community and ex-service personnel are part of the journey as we transform this iconic ship into a tourism drawcard,” Ms Donaldson said.
"Ensuring safe community access to the ship before it is declared a construction zone is a significant milestone that we have achieved for the project.
"This will be a significant piece of tourism infrastructure and important to the region's tourism industry.
"Local jobs have been a key consideration at all stages of the transformation works and will continue to be once the wreck is a dive site.”
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the open days would help to attract tourists to the region, fulfilling the project's promise to boost the local economy.
"We always knew securing the ex-HMAS Tobruk would bring dividends to both the Fraser Coast and Bundaberg regions, and since it arrived here last December there has been a stream of visitors coming to the Port to view the vessel,” Ms Jones said.
"I am sure this will turn into a flood of visitors over the weekend.
"We are expecting the first divers to be on the site in early 2019 when it will become a unique tourism attraction in Queensland, generating significant spending and flow-on economic benefits including jobs to the Fraser Coast and Bundaberg regions, and also the wider Queensland economy.
"The transformation of this historic vessel will be a great legacy for the state and those who served on her.
"Her first home port was in Brisbane in 1981 and we have always said it is fitting that her last will also be in Queensland.”
The open days will be held on Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17.
Register to attend the event here.