Birdon was contracted to environmentally sanitise, prepare and scuttle the decommissioned ex-HMAS Tobruk for use as an artificial reef and dive site in Hervey Bay. The ex-HMAS Tobruk dive wreck is a partnership between the Queensland Government, Bundaberg and Fraser Coast Regional Councils, which has created a world-class dive site in the Great Sandy Marine Park. As a part of this contract, Birdon also installed mooring buoys and navigational markers.
Birdon hired local personnel to carry out the preparation activities and held a number of community days as well as hosting more specialised focus groups. To protect marine life Birdon scuttled the vessel in Hervey Bay without the use of explosives, which also meant there were no environmental protests associated with the scuttling.
During the scuttling process, the ship listed to its starboard side and landed on the seabed on its side. Birdon worked closely with the Queensland government to ensure the safety of the dive site. This included cutting new access holes and enlarging others to ensure the safety of divers and to offer greater accessibility to this unique piece of Australian military history. Birdon’s management received sincere appreciation from the Queensland government for the successful completion of all rectification works which were carried out at Birdon’s expense.
The dive site was opened to recreational divers on the 25th February 2019 and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Over one hundred species of fish, including grouper, trevally and wrasse have made a home of the Ex-HMAS Tobruk and an abundance of marine life have colonised the metal surfaces of the wreck.