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Holbrook Submarine Museum had its 25th Anniversary in 2022

Since its dedication for twenty-five years, thousands of people have visited the ‘Submarine in the Park’. No longer do cars drive through the town on their way between Sydney and Melbourne, however, many still come off the highway just to see the attractions. Volunteers, especially those with a close link to the Oberon class submarines, still play a major part in the operations of the Museum assisting with painting the submarine, fixing machinery, and identifying artifacts.

Local volunteers, Roger Cooper, Cathy Mann, and Morrie Jeppesen have all held the position of Honorary Curator and made a significant contribution to enhancing the collection. The Friends of Holbrook Submarine Museum was formed following the 50th-anniversary celebrations of Otway Plank Owners. The main aim of FHSM is to promote and help raise the profile of the Museum through publications such as this Calendar.

HMAS PLATYPUS was commissioned in 1967

On the 18th of August 1967, the Minister of Defence, Mr. Alan Fairhall unveiled a plaque to commemorate the commissioning of the submarine base, HMAS PLATYPUS in Neutral Bay, NSW. The Commissioning marked the establishment of the new 4th Submarine Squadron. Present at the ceremony was the RN Flag Officer, Submarines Rear Admiral I L M McGeoch who presented a bronze casting of a platypus which was subscribed to by the officers of the Royal Navy Submarine Service. Shortly after the ceremony, HMAS Oxley, under the command of Lieutenant Commander David Lorrimer arrived on her maiden voyage from the UK via Bermuda, Jamaica, Panama, and Pearl Harbor. Lorrimer had been in command of HMS Tapir in 1962 when it was part of the 4th

The Gloucester Cup was awarded to HMAS Rankin three times

is awarded each year to recognise the fleet unit within the Royal Australian Navy with the highest level of overall proficiency in the previous twelve months. The first Oberon-class submarine to win the Cup was HMAS Onslow in 1977 followed by HMAS Orion in 1987. On 10 June 2005, HMAS Rankin (AKA the Black Knight) was the first Collins-class submarine to earn the Cup, and the first submarine to receive it since HMAS Orion, followed by HMAS Sheean in 2005 in 1987. The award was again presented to Rankin in 2007/8 and 2016 – the only submarine to win the award three times. Other submarines to win the award were Onslow 1977, Orion 1987, Sheean 2005.

The Australian Submarine Squadron Insignia was approved in 1976

On 20 January 1976, the Australian Naval Board approved a special squadron insignia for use by Oberon Class submarines of the Royal Australian Navy Submarine Squadron.

Known as an ‘O-merang’ it comprised a white letter O with a red boomerang vertically imposed over it. The ‘O-merang’ insignia was worn on each side of the fin of the Oberon Class boats in harbour. Following the introduction of the Collins Class submarines, the insignia was amended substituting the letter ‘C’ for the letter ‘O’. A name change followed and the ‘C-merang’ was born. When Collins Class submarines are in harbour the insignia is normally displayed on a cover located on the forward casing of the vessel and at the top of the ‘fin’.3rd February 1976 Captain Bill Owen appointed Commanding Officer, HMAS Platypus and the RAN Submarine Squadron 13th February 1992 De-Commissioning of HMAS Oxley (II)

The White Ensign changed in 1967

The RAN changed its white ensign from the RN version to its own distinctive ensign in 1967. In the UK The RN white ensign was lowered in March 1967 at Australia House London. The RN ensign was presented to the Vice­ Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Sir John Bush who represented the First Sea Lord at the ceremony. The ‘old’ Ensign was lowered by bearded 38-year-old Chief Petty Officer Leonard Meakins of Mackay, Queensland, and the new Ensign was raised by the youngest member of the Royal Australian Navy at the time in Britain, Able Seaman Thor Lund (18) of Sydney. Both were stationed in Scotland standing by the construction of the new submarine Otway.