ex HMAS Canberra Ship Preparation Nearly Complete

Monday, 16 February 2009: VARS News Update

Monday, 16 February 2009: VARS News Update

In Brief

  • Ship preparation is now nearly complete
  • Scuttling date is yet to be confirmed - however a date towards end-March 2009 seems likely
  • Celebratory Ball being planned for 18th April

Sub-Committee Reports

Site Management - Convenor: Alan Beckhurst
A public workshop was held on 3rd February at Barwon Heads to enable community input into aspects of site management and location. The workshop was conducted by the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and Parks Victoria. Around 45 people attended the workshop representing dive charter operators, private divers, fishermen and other interested parties. Good discussion was had regarding site management and access plans. All input was collated by DSE and Parks and will be used to finalise the management plan.

Ship Preparation - Convenor: Jason Salter
Work on ship preparation is now nearly complete. Birdon estimate that this will be completed by end February or early March.

It is now understood that the Port of Melbourne have agreed to a 4 metre navigation clearance. This is an outstanding result meaning that we have the opportunity to retain substantial portions of the mast array. This will also mean that the site will have improved safety with divers able to complete safety stops using the mast.

However, it should be noted that work will be required in order to make the mast useable and set it up as part of the final prepared ship. This work has not been included in the original budget prepared by Birdon. Consequently, it will be up to VARS to find and secure the necessary funds to achieve this. VARS is now evaluating how this might be achieved and is expecting a positive outcome.

Fund Raising / Membership - Convenor: Warrick McDonald
All VARS members are encouraged to purchase a T-shirt to support the activities of VARS between now and the scuttling date. This T-shirt is available on order either from VARS or via your local dive store (within Victoria).

Other fund-raising opportunities are also being pursued. These include a very generous offer of artworks from Reg Cox. Reg is a well-known Victorian water-colour artist. He has generously offered a number of limited edition prints as well as an original painting (yet to be painted) of Canberra entering the heads for use by VARS in fund-raising efforts. Watch the website for further information on this.

Marketing / Promotion - Convenor: Bryan McGoldrick
A variety of marketing activities including the production of a 3D interactive video are currently being pursued. Some funding has been secured with more being investigated. Close contact has now been established with Geelong Otway Tourism and joint activities are being planned.

Scuttling Celebration - Celebratory Ball - Convenor: Mick Jeacle
A Celebratory Ball is being planned to celebrate the scuttling. This event is now being planned for 18th April and promises to be "THE" event of the year in the dive community. Watch this space for information over the next month. Numbers will be strictly limited - so be ready to book your ticket as soon as the final arrangements have been made.

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