Submariners band together to aid submarine museum

Members of the commissioning crew that took delivery of HMAS Otway in Scotland in 1968 have banded together to aid a museum established next to the submarine’s resting place in a park in Holbrook, NSW.

9 July 2020

(left to right) Roger (Fingers) Faramus ex POUW SM; Michael (Knocker) White OAM, QC Otway’s first ‘Jimmy’, and FHSM President; John Maclean ex ABME SM. Graham (Jumper) Collins ex WO SM and Treasurer FHSM, Thor Lund ex LSUW SM and FHSM Secretary. (Photo: Bev Lund)

At a reunion of the crew, the group became aware that the Holbrook Submarine Museum needed funding and help with archiving software.

The result was the Friends of the Holbrook Submarine Museum (FHSM), a group dedicated to fund raising and giving practical support to the museum. FHSM is open to submariners, former submariners and non-submariners.

The Holbrook Submarine Museum was established to preserve and display Australia’s submarine heritage dating back to the ‘silent Anzac’, AE2, and the loss of AE1 off the New Britain coast resulting in some of the first Australian losses of the First World War.

While the group’s founding nucleus is physically removed from the museum with the membership scattered across the country, it has nonetheless enhanced communications between old shipmates. They’ve been editing pictures and other media so the curator can upload material to the museum’s website, which has also undergone an overhaul.

FHSM’s secretary, Thor Lund, said the group had received great support from the Submarine Institute of Australia (SIA) with funding to enhance displays, the National Maritime Museum with advice and support, and a virtual reality system, and the Naval Historical Society by providing material on submarines from its archives.

‘All was going well until the (coronavirus) lock down happened and we had to rethink our approach,’ Mr Lund said. ‘Firstly, [we] concentrated on building a website and improving our cloud system. Many phone conferences and late nights later we got the website running with the help of a corporate sponsor.

‘We then turned our thoughts to merchandising to raise money and decided to dust off some previous work and write some new stuff to sell.

These books included The Submariners’ Cookbook, One Man’s Navy by Terry Rowell OAM and a range of posters and comedic books like The Submariners Road Trip, The Cruise, and the Holbrook Submarine Museum Kids Art Book.

‘Working with the SIA, we are about to use the lockdown to record interviews with ex and current submariners for the living history part of the museum. We are also working to raise funds for the reconstruction of the AE2 control room in the three-quarter scale model we have in the park with HMAS Otway. ‘The lockdown has not stopped us and we have kept our brains active as well helping a worthwhile organisation.’

For more information, visit the Holbrook Submarine Museum website.

HMAS Otway at its Holbrook home.