Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Australia road trip day 6 - Holbrook

The forecast for the next few days also showed rain, so we decided to cut short our Melbourne trip by a day and head out towards Goulburn where we were to spend a night before proceeding to Sydney. This meant that we had to miss the highly recommended Melbourne Botanic Gardens, but the rain wasn't going to permit a visit there anyway. Heading out was definitely better than sitting around indoors.

So we said our goodbyes to the relatives we were staying with. Xena made everyone laugh when she said, "Bye bye see you Monday!" Perhaps she said so because her teachers at school say that to her on Fridays. She also bade farewell to 'bagunji' (bhagwanji) - the idols kept in the puja room.

It was around 15 degrees celcius when we left Melbourne, but things were expected to get warmer as we moved along. Xena remembered the road we had taken the previous day and even predicted, to our total surprise, "Abhi tunnel aayega!"
Cloudy skies as we leave Melbourne

It was going to be a long journey so I started playing songs off my ipod. My ipod is like a million years old and so are the songs on it, which I never bothered to refresh. So we were literally listening to songs from Dil Chahta Hai and Parineeta and what not. When 'Piyu bole' started playing, Xena recognised it at once as the song that I had taught her at home. She also sang her own songs, 'Row row row your boat' being the main one, except that she'd say, "Like a butter dream!" instead of "Life is but a dream."

We stopped at this place called Mokoan rest area to take a break... 

...and to have lunch that we had packed from Subway. 

Xena squirmed away at Viv's offer of food...

...and preferred to be out and about instead. 

Except that she was suddenly attacked by a whole swarm of flies! There were so many of them, we ran and quickly took cover in the car. 

I went to the ladies' room and reported back that they were very clean and well-equipped. Viv then went to the men's and came back disgusted. Apparently they were very dirty and smelly. Why, men, why?

We stopped at Holbrook, a small town between Melbourne and Sydney. The town was originally called Ten Mile Creek and then changed to Germanton. During WWI, the name was deemed unpatriotic and changed to Holbrook in honour of Lt. Norman Douglas Holbrook, a submarine captain who commanded the British submarine HMS B11 to torpedo and sink the Turkish battleship Mesudiye. For his daring feat, he received the Victoria Cross award. The award, instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856, is the highest decoration for gallantry awarded to British and Commonwealth Armed Forces.

In 1995, the Royal Australian Navy gifted the fin of the submarine HMAS Otway (after it was decommissioned, of course) to the town of Holbrook. This led to a fundraiser by the town to purchase the rest of it in honour of Lieutenant Holbrook. Though they raised $100,000 (most of it donated by Lt Holbrook's widow, Gundula Holbrook). However, this amount was not enough to buy the whole whole so they had to make do with all of the outer skin above the waterline (90 m from bow to stern). This is proudly displayed outside the Holbrook submarine museum.

Xena posing with the part of the Otway purchased by the town 

We decided to check out the submarine museum, which strangely had an entry fee of $10 per family. That's right, per family! 

The museum houses photographs, posters, a 3D hologram room, the Otway's control room, and submarine components including a working periscope. I couldn't imagine so many people practically living in those tiny rooms for months, and that too... underwater. Brrr...

Posters describing the bravado of Lt Norman Holbrook

A 3D hologram that recreated the night of the underwater raid by the B11. The lady you see depicts Gundula Holbrook and the entire description is in the first person. 

Viv studies the photographs, while Xena fools around.

There was a torpedo tube on display in the museum. The orange suits hanging above it are the submarine escape suits. 

The tail end of the submarine, fondly known as the 'duck's arse'!

Xena inspects the submarine. 

Afterwards, we went to the Submarine Cafe to get a coffee for Appa.

The cafe had a play area, which thrilled Xena. 

In fact, she got so attached to it...

...she refused to get off!

This was the first time that Xena was having her milk break in the vicinity of a real submarine!

Xena and I also spent some time studying spiders that had spun webs on all the windows of the submarine. 

Finally, we were ready to set off again. We reached Goulburn motor lodge by evening. Gourburn is a small town, which was incidentally celebrating its 150th birthday in 2013. We checked in, freshened up and set out for dinner. We tried out the Thai Bank restaurant, which was within walking distance from the lodge. They had one of the best pad thais I'd ever had. Yum! After dinner, we walked over to Woolworths to pick up some breakfast items, and then headed back to get some well-deserved rest.

Next up - Bradman museum in Bowral and off to Ryde!



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