Keeping our heroes in sight
Preparations are underway to mark one of the most signiﬁcant milestones in Australia’s defence history. In May 2014, the centenary of submarines in Australia will be celebrated nationally. While the date might seem along way off, the Submarine Institute of Australia (SIA) is already targeting its own rare breed of heroes in a documentary series celebrating the
extraordinary experiences of Australia’s submariners.
One of the driving forces behind the project is Vice President of the SIA, Peter Horobin. A former submarine Captain with a very dry sense of humour, Peter says the Submarine Institute of Australia (SIA) was formed in 1997 to promote informed debate on submarine matters which according to him, includes anything underwater.
“The SIA is involved in the AE2 project for example, to conserve and present the historic submarine for the community, which is a program of national and international interest, but we have also been keen to ensure the experiences of our most significant submariners have a high profile too,” Peter Horobin said. “At the age of 90, Max Shean is the most decorated Australian submariner in the nation today and a familiar figure around Fremantle, so it was fitting that he was the target of our first oral history documentary,” he said.
According to Peter Horobin, Fremantle in Western Australia is a natural hub for submarine history. “Fremantle was second largest submarine base in the world ever between 1942-45,” he said. “The role of American submarines as well as the British and the Dutch was based in Fremantle. Those submarines accounted for about 70 percent of the Japanese Navy and merchant navy. In terms of the defence the influence of those submarines was huge,” he said.
“What we are trying to achieve in the centenary is to help the community become aware of how significant the submarines and our submariners have been,” he said.
The SIA is seeking sponsors for the documentary project that will ensure the experiences of some of Australia’s greatest maritime heroes are kept alive for generations to come.
Text courtesy of the National Trust of Australia (Trust News Australia May 2009)