Friday, November 02, 2007

Submarine relic begins final journey

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TheWest.com.au
By Kate Campbell
November 02, 2007

A towering chunk of naval history was painstakingly transported yesterday in the first step towards its final resting place.

The submarine Orion’s conning tower, measuring a huge 12m wide and 6m high and weighing 25 tonnes, was conveyed from Tenix shipyard in Henderson to Rockingham’s council depot, where it will be restored and repainted.

After more than a decade of gathering dust in the shipyard, it will finally be displayed in the city’s naval memorial park, near the home of the navy in WA – Garden Island – by April next year, to coincide with Anzac Day.

The Orion, the last of six Oberon-class navy submarines, was decommissioned in 1996 after 22 years of service.

Despite submarines playing an important part in WA’s maritime history, few submarine relics have been kept.

The Orion was stripped and sold for scrap metal to China after it was retired.

But several parts, including the operations room, conning tower and periscope, were saved as historical keepsakes.

The operations room is on display at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, while the periscope is showcased at the WA Maritime Museum.

Talk of the tower, still in relatively good condition, being destined for Albany dissipated due to the logistics and costs of such a move.

A police escort and road closures helped yesterday’s mammoth moving task, which took more than four hours, to run smoothly.

The drive took only 35 minutes, while manoeuvring and hoisting the giant tower off the truck by an 80-tonne crane was the time-consuming job.


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www.schnorkel.blogspot.com

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