Time to sink ship to bring tourists and jobs
IT WAS a bitter sweet moment on the bank of the Burnett River as the final farewells to the ex-HMAS Tobruk took place today.
For more than three decades the naval ship served Australia, through peacetime and disaster.
In December 2016, after three years of fighting, Bundaberg claimed victory over other regions, including north Tasmania, in the race to have Tobruk sunk as a dive wreck.
Once ex-HMAS Tobruk settles on the floor of the ocean it will become a divers' paradise.
Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said it was worth the fight and would continue to bring jobs to the region.
"People will travel long distances to see her," he said.
"The Tobruk is a unique ship and an experience people will only get here."
During her recent time here, there were jobs galore as work was undertaken in preparation for the scuttling.
"She's been all over the world and travelled almost a million nautical miles," Mr Pitt said.
"Now the final resting place will be right here at Bundaberg where it will be a tourist attraction for people to travel from right around the world to."
He said the ship had a history of great service and now the opportunity to continue that service was here.
"It's about a tourist attraction, to drive jobs and to drive those jobs into our region," Mr Pitt said.
He said the ex-HMAS Tobruk was special because of the proud history.
The number of people who came to say their final goodbyes and during the preparations for scuttling was astounding.
"The number of people who came over Christmas 2016-17... there were more than 10,000 visitors just in that six-week period," Mr Pitt said.