A-Z Index | Toggle Font Size:
The Submarine Town





HMAS Otway

Submarine Otway was the second of 6 submarines built for the Royal Australian Navy at Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Greenock, Scotland.



Laid down in Scotland on 29 June 1966

Launched 29 November 1966
Commissioned 22 April 1968

The "O" Class Oberon boats were considered among the very best of the conventional submarines in the world being very quiet and stealthy when diving and almost undetectable when on patrol.


Displacement: Surface 2186 tons, Submerged 2417 tons 
Length: 89.91 metres (295ft) overall
Beam 8.07 metres (26 1/2ft)
Armament:   8 x 21 inch(533mm) Torpedo Tubes - 6 Bow and 2 Stern
Machinery:  Twin Screws, Two English Electric Main Propulsion Motors with two Admiralty Standard Range Diesel Generators
Speed:  Surface - 15 knots  Submerged - 17 knots (for short periods)
Complement:  7 Officers, 55 Sailors and 6 under training



During the years following the change of name from "Germanton" to "Holbrook", Norman Holbrook made a number of visits to the town before his untimely death in 1976. In 1982 his widow, Gundula Holbrook donated his medals to the town. The unlikely link between the inland farming town  and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Submarine Squadron developed between 1986 and 1992 when submariners were given Freedom of Entry to the Shire. 

Today, Holbrook's vision of erecting a fitting memorial to Australian submariners has become a reality. Following the Navy's gift of the decommisioned OTWAY's 'fin' in 1995, a submarine working party was formed to investigate ways of obtaining a real submarine and overseeing its erection. Finance was the biggest stumbling block. Several thousand dollars were raised by public spirited people and organisations who believed in the project. Then out of the blue came the amazing gift of$100,000 from Gundula Holbrook, widow of the late Commander Norman D Holbrook. Mrs Holbrook's generosity has enabled the project to forge ahead.

In 1995, when the decommissioned OTWAY was being disposed of, an unsuccessful tender by Holbrook led to discussions and eventually the purchase of the 'outer skin to the waterline' from a Sydney scrap yard.

Resolving the problem of moving the submarine inland, the structure was cut into sections and transported by semi-trailer down the Hume Highway. It was reconstructed at Holbrook with the assistance of a team of unemployed trainees during the New Work Opportunities Program co-ordinated by Billabong Skill Share and Holbrook Shire Council.

The spectacular, traffic-stopping inland submarine is a fitting memorial to those brave men who serve and have served in submarines in both war and peace.

An official dedication of the Submarine Memorial was staged during the Queen's Birthday weekend on 
7 June 1997 with Mrs Gundula Holbrook the official guest.

Development of a Submarine Museum housing photographs, submarine components and mock areas of the submarine interior such as engine room, galley and living quarters is now open and worth a visit.



Builder: Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Greenock, Scotland  
Displacement: 2070 tonnes
Length: 89.9 metres
Beam:   8.1 metres
Armament:  Six bow weapon tubes capable of launching torpedoes, missiles or mines
Machinery:   Two English electric main propulsion motors with two Admiralty standard range diesel generators.
Speed:     Submerged speed more than 15 knots
Ships Company 64

Each of the RAN's Oberon Class submarines was a tube of steel 18ft in diameter and 300ft long.

Within its dimensions each boat houses:  


  • Living quarters for 64 men The equivalent of 9,400 car batteries
  • 22 weapons, consisting of torpedoes, missiles and mines or a mix of all 3 each capable of sinking, or damaging a large ship.
  • Two road tankers of lubricating oil.
  • Two generators with the capacity of Dubbo power station.
  • A supermarket full of food.
  • Storage for 30 tons of fresh water.
  • The air conditioning plant of the AMP building and 7 masts taller than telegraph poles.   
  • Surrounding this are 12 tankers of diesel fuel.