The rural town of Holbrook is situated between Melbourne and Sydney on the Hume Highway. Known both locally and nationally as ‘the Submarine Town’, Holbrook is the home to the decommissioned Australian submarine HMAS OTWAY and a 1/5 scale model of the British submarine HMS B11 from 1914.
The town was named Holbrook on 11 August 1915 in honour of Lieutenant N.D. Holbrook of the Royal Navy who was the first submariner to receive the Victoria Cross in World War I and had skippered the original HMS B11 during that war.
Today, Holbrook is the centre of a richly diverse rural economy and produces wool, wheat and other grains, lucerne, cattle and sheep. The Holbrook district has some of the best grazing land in the state, with numerous cattle studs and primary producers reputedly being leaders in their field.
Other farming operations include the production of fine wool and meat from both sheep and goats, cropping, pasture seed production, tree nurseries, timber plantations and grape growing.
The area of Holbrook has had several names over the years. Originally named by Hume and Hovell as ‘Friday Mount’ and ‘Camden Forest’, it was later known as ‘Therry’s’ or ‘Billabong’ after the Rev John Therry in 1836, followed by ‘Ten Mile Creek’ in 1838 and ‘Germanton’ in 1858.
The name Germanton was officially gazetted in 1876 but was then changed to Holbrook in 1915 after Lieutenant Holbrook. In 1995 the Royal Australian Navy gifted the fin of HMAS OTWAY to Holbrook, and over time local funds and a generous donation from Mrs Gundula Holbrook allowed the outer skin to the water line of the submarine to be installed in the Submarine Precinct.
The Submarine Precinct is a well known stop over on the Hume Highway allowing travellers to experience the size and grandeur of a submarine in a unique rural setting. Holbrook has a variety of activities for both locals and visitors alike that are worth exploring.