Target Date Set for ex HMAS Canberra Sinking

Wednesday, 15 July 2009: VARS News Update

Wednesday, 15 July 2009: VARS News Update

In Brief

  • Site confirmed
  • Target Date of 15th August for scuttling
  • Ship preparation completed and looking magnificent
  • Site management process continues to advance
  • Historical Celebratory Ball being planned for 17th October
  • Promotional and marketing material well into development

Sub-Committee Reports

Ship Preparation - Convenor: Jason Salter
At last, the end is in sight! Whilst not yet confirmed, we are advised that a target date has been set for scuttling. This date is 15th August 2009 and is the date being worked to by all parties. This date is highly weather dependant. A satisfactory "window" of clear and calm weather is required in order to ensure that the scuttling goes well.

The ship preparation is now virtually complete with only minor details remaining. Preparation work has produced outstanding results. Substantial efforts have been made to retain the character of the vessel and not simply turn it into "Swiss cheese". There are numerous potential dives to many different areas of the ship. Many features have been retained, the most notable of which is a hand-painted mural located in the ship's mess. Some repairs have been required to the mural following an act of vandalism whilst the ship was at the Geelong Grain Pier. The mural has also been coated with clear lacquer in an attempt to preserve it.

All are in agreement that Canberra is the best prepared of all ships scuttled in Australia so far and will be very exciting to dive.

Site Management - Convenor: Alan Beckhurst
The site has been confirmed and signed off by the relevant parties. Canberra will be put to rest approximately 0.8 nautical miles from the J4 Submarine. Depth will be around 30 metres with the main deck at 18 metres. This is an ideal location and depth.

The site manager will be Parks Victoria. Four mooring buoys will be established around the wreck. Three will be for commercial operators with one for private boats. The system for bookings is still being worked on and will be advised in due course.

Scuttling Celebrations - Celebratory Ball - Convenor: Mick Jeacle
A Historical Sinking Ball will be held at the Coral Atoll Room at the Melbourne Aquarium on Saturday, 17th October 2009 to celebrate the scuttling of ex-HMAS Canberra. This ball promises to be "the" event of the year. Ticket prices will be $150 each, with numbers strictly limited. The ticket price includes meal, drinks and entertainment.

People wishing to attend this historic event should order their tickets without delay. Details on how to order and pay are on the website ( or via the ticket coordinator on 03 5988 5508.

Other events are also in planning for the scuttle date. It is anticipated that a large flotilla of boats will be in attendance. Enquiries are also being made for a possible attendance by an RAN vessel.

Marketing / Promotion - Convenor: Bryan McGoldrick
A 3D geospatial DVD is now in preparation. This has been put together with the kind assistance of Bill de Blasio from 360 South who took all the necessary 3D photographs.

A documentary on the ship is also well in progress. This will be released after the ship is finally at rest.

Communication - Convenor: Mike Reed
Following our previous concerns with communication between VARS and various government entities, VARS is now "back in the loop" and continues to liaise regularly. With a target scuttling date now being worked to, public and community interest in the project is heightening with John Lawler's phone now virtually in constant use fielding a variety of queries as well as liaising with the various agencies!

Fund Raising / Membership - Convenor: Warrick McDonald
No new activities. The T-shirts ordered by various members are now available for collection.

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