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On Walkabout In: Holbrooke, Australia

The drive between Melbourne and Sydney on the Hume Highway is a long one that takes an entire day to drive. The drive is really not all that scenic and actually quite boring. However, the drive between the two major cities in Australia has one unusual site that you will not see anywhere else in Australia, a public park with a submarine:

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This submarine is located in the small city of Holbrook, New South Wales which is about the half way point between Melbourne and Sydney on the Hume Highway

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The city only has about 1,400 people in it and was originally called Germanton in 1876. However, during World War I the people of the city decided to change the name due to the anti-German sentiment of that time due to the war. The decision was made to name the town Holbrook after Submarine Commander Norman Douglas Holbrook who earned the first naval Victoria Cross for his actions sinking the Turkish battleship Messoudieh during the war. Douglas Holbrook would actually go on and visit the town three times to thank the people for naming the city after him.

So historically the city has ties with submarines and those ties only became stronger when the decision was made in 1994 to purchase the shell of the decommissioned Royal Australian Navy submarine HMAS Otway. The submarine shell was purchased using funds raised through a city wide fundraiser to include a $100,000 given to the city from Douglas Holbrook’s widow. The shell of the submarine was shipped to the city by truck and then reassembled in the public park by local volunteers. The city is easily the most recognizable aspect of the city and can even be easily spotted on Google Earth:

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Holbrook, NSW is definitely a “submarine town”, but it is sure strange to see one 400 kilometers inland. So if you are making the drive across the Hume Highway it is worth a stop to stretch your legs and check out this surprising “submarine town”.

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