Mu­seum idea floated

Weekend Courier - - Front Page -

TOURISM Min­is­ter Paul Pa­palia is open to the pos­si­bil­ity of HMAS Dar­win be­com­ing a float­ing mu­seum some­where in WA.

The 33-year-old guided mis­sile frigate is the old­est war­ship in the navy and is due to be de­com­mis­sioned in Syd­ney later this year.

The ship vis­ited Rockingham, where it was based from 1993 to 2006, for what was ex­pected to be the last time in March while tak­ing part in the Ocean Ex­plorer Ex­er­cise.

Mr Pa­palia said “it was im­por­tant that we pre­serve our mil­i­tary his­tory and HMAS Dar­win’s con­tri­bu­tion should be hon­oured”.

“Govern­ment would need to con­sider the tourism ben­e­fits to WA of se­cur­ing such a project, how­ever, I’m open to look­ing at these op­por­tu­ni­ties,” he said.

Brand MHR Madeleine King agreed the ship’s con­tri­bu­tion to Aus­tralia’s mil­i­tary his­tory should be hon­oured.

“With WA play­ing an im­por­tant role in the de­fence of the na­tion, the pos­si­bil­ity of the Dar­win re­main­ing in our wa­ters post-de­com­mis­sion­ing is worth ex­plor­ing,” she said.

Rockingham RSL mem­ber Jen­nifer Sciortino said HMAS Dar­win could be­come the “pride of the ma­rina, like in Dar­ling Har­bour”.

She be­lieved it would at­tract lots of tourists and there were lots of ex-navy per­son­nel in the re­gion who could help main­tain it.

“Af­ter all, isn’t Rockingham the home of the navy on the west coast?” she said.

Ms Sciortino said it would be a great tourist op­por­tu­nity and there were fa­cil­i­ties close by for its main­te­nance.

For­mer crew mem­bers have ex­pressed their de­sire for the ship to be­come a float­ing mu­seum, with pos­si­ble lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing the Aus­tralian Na­tional Mar­itime Mu­seum in Syd­ney, Dar­win or a WA site.

Michael Wurth was part of the ship’s com­mis­sion­ing crew and would like to see it be­come a mu­seum ship in Dar­win.

Tourism Min­is­ter Paul Pa­palia is open to the pos­si­bil­ity of HMAS Dar­win be­com­ing a float­ing mu­seum af­ter it is de­com­mis­sioned from the navy later this year.

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