HMAS Gladstone on her way

THE former HMAS Gladstone has been out of sight and out of mind in her quiet corner of the Gladstone Marina.

However, by Christmas the retired patrol boat will be at a new mooring and in full view of the Gladstone waterfront.

Gladstone Maritime History Society president Robert Neville-Hughes said the ship will be temporarily moored near the mouth of the marina awaiting a permanent place on the old slipway down from O’Connell Wharf towards the mouth of Auckland Creek.

But she will not be accessible to the general public at this stage.

The 200-tonne vessel, which served Australia for 22 years, was handed over by the Navy in April 2007 at a ceremony in Cairns and later sailed down to Gladstone.

A project alliance began plans to have the vessel permanently placed next to a relocated Maritime Museum at the former Players restaurant site.

“Unfortunately the economic times and tide stranded the project temporarily,” Mr Robertson-Hughes said.

But he said there were no plans to abandon the project.

“We have been maintaining the boat and she is in good condition.”

He said when she is finally put up on display, there would be guided tours of the vessel. Areas that can not be accessed for safety and insurance reasons would be displayed during a “virtual tour”.

Mr Robertson Hughes said the new museum and the HMAS Gladstone, which is to be raised on a specially engineered plinth, would be connected by a gangway.

He said the society looked forward to having a new and bigger museum to house its growing number of display items, but the former HMAS Gladstone would be the museum’s feature exhibit. 



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