HMAS Brisbane scuttled

July 31, 2005

Former Navy ship HMAS Brisbane has been scuttled off Queensland's Sunshine Coast for use as a dive site.Thousands of spectators on land and in boats turned out to watch as a series of explosions sent the ship to the sea floor off Mudjimba in about two minutes.

Tourism officials hope the boat will attract 10,000 dive tourists a year, who will add more than $20 million to the state's coffers.The Brisbane 's former captain, retired Rear Admiral Geoffrey Loosli, says the ship had a graceful ending.

"Both the mounts emitted a flash of flame as if they were firing and after the explosion had occurred, the ship just very gracefully settled down and went to her resting place on the sea bottom," he said.

The sinking was four years in the making after extensive negotiations between the Queensland Government and the Commonwealth. Queensland Premier Peter Beattie says the dive site will bring $22 million to Queensland each year.

"Divers will be able to start using the site from mid-August," he said.