Holbrook is a town in NSW about 40 minutes up the Hume Highway from Rydges Albury. Apart from having a fabulous bakery that sells THE best meat pies, there’s also a ginormous submarine in a park on the main street – quite a surprise to passers-through who don’t know about it – and for a while it will be even more surprising because it has just become Holbrook’s Yellow Submarine.
Is it art? Is it beautiful? Is it silly? Yes, yes and yes! And it is fabulous. It is the brainchild of Murray Arts and the yellow isn’t painted on, it is knitted on. For some time they have been calling for volunteers to provide both the wool and the needlework to make the dream become a reality.
So how did a submarine beach itself in this town? It all started with a German immigrant who was publican of the Woolpack Hotel in 1940 when the town was known as Ten Mile Creek – in 1875 it became ‘Germanton’… then along came World War One and the 'German' part didn’t sound patriotic so, in 1915, it was renamed Holbrook, after Lt Norman Holbrook, a submarine captain who had won the Victoria Cross.
In 1995, when the HMAS Otway was decommissioned, the Holbrook council acquired a piece of it (a fin) thanks to the generosity of the navy. This resulted in a fundraiser to buy the whole submarine – the town and district raised $100,000 (much donated by Lt Holbrook’s widow, Gundula). Anyway, it all happened and the above waterline part of the Otway now sits proudly in Germanton Park... under the cover of yellow yarnstorming, graffiti knitting and crocheted grenades.
Everybody sing! We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine…