HMAS Otway – Holbrook, Australia - Atlas Obscura

HMAS Otway

Holbrook, Australia

The decommissioned submarine is now the symbol of a small, inland Australian town. 


Holbrook, New South Wales has a different way of putting itself on the map. Rather than opting for a big banana or giant ram, this Australian town chose a different roadside attraction—one that pays homage to its namesake.

Holbrook’s European settlers originally named their new town Germantown. But during World War I, anti-German sentiment led residents to rename their town after an English submariner, Commander Norman Holbrook VC.

So, when searching for a new town symbol, the local council looked back at their history and chose the submarine as their unique object. An Oberon class submarine called the HMS Otway became available from the Australian Navy and was installed at Holbrook in 1995.

Now, a portion of the submarine’s hull and the upper section of its casing sit within a pleasant park. The town attempted to raise money to buy the entire vessel, but was unable to garner sufficient funds.

Holbrook is now known as “the submarine town” and Australian submariners have been granted freedom of the Shire. An interactive museum and excellent café are part of the landmark inland submarine park. 

Know Before You Go

You can wander by the submarine at any time. While in town, be sure to check out the submarine museum, which is open Sunday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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