STATE Liberal Party president Michael Kroger spoke at the Victorian Maritime Centre’s inaugural Governors Dinner on Wednesday 24 May at which he and two others were inducted into its governorship program.
Mr Kroger, along with Liberal Party Eastern Multicultural branch president Gladys Liu and financial advisor Ian Heraud will help guide, mentor and protect the $15 million project which involves establishing a maritime museum at Hastings based around the submarine HMAS Otama (moored off Crib Point for the past 14 years) and former pilot vessel, MV Wyuna (initially destined for a birth at Docklands).
Western Port Oberon Association public relations officer Annette Sanfilippo said the governors’ role was created to protect the financial and ethical interests of the project.
The project includes building an interactive, entertaining and educational centre around the vessels to preserve and teach maritime history and create awareness among young people. It aims to become a major tourist destination in Western Port.
Ms Sanfilippo said Oberon association president Max Bryant is working to restore and display the vessels for the community.
Project patron Princess Anne commissioned HMAS Otama in 1978. It is said to be the last of the Oberon class submarines in existence.
Guests toured the Hastings marina before the dinner amid a setting that reflected the history of the project and featured a 1.5-metre wooden replica of the MV Wyuna donated to the museum.
Mr Bryant and Ms Sanfilippo spoke about the not-for-profit project which aims to preserve maritime history and generate tourism around Western Port.
Dennis Gist was made an honorary ambassador of the association for his promotional work and other guests included project planner Paul McGuiness, Crs Kate Roper and David Gill, John Methven of the Vietnam Veterans’ Museum, and residents and business owners Neil Valance, Lyn Beaumont and Deb Kroger.
A gift hamper presented to Mr Kroger contained produce from businesses in the region.