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Three Fantastic Things to do in Holbrook

Home > Albury Wodonga > Day Trips | Family | Lists | Museums | Places of Interest
by Gayle Beveridge (subscribe)
Gayle is a retired accountant and a photography enthusiast living on Victoria's beautiful Bass Coast. Gayle is passionate about writing and keen to showcase Aussie culture to a global audience. Gayle loves her family, dogs, sunsets, and chocolate.
Published December 20th 2014
Submarines, Pottery and Antiques

The last thing we expect to see as we drive into Holbrook is a submarine in a park, but there she is, the HMAS Otway, all 89.9 metres of her. She is indeed splendid, impossible to drive past and only one of the attractions in this history rich town.

HMAS Otway, Holbrook, Submarine Park,
The HMAS Otway at Submarine Park

Originally called Germanton, Holbrook changed its name in World War One, choosing that of the then Lieutenant Norman Holbrook, the first naval Victoria Cross winner of the war. The story of how a submarine ended up in a rural inland park is detailed in the Holbrook Submarine Museum.

There are two other museums here. We break up our visits with Devonshire tea at Viv's Tea Rooms.

Submarine Park and the HMAS Otway

The HMAS Otway is at Submarine Park where her above water-line structure is displayed. What is really exciting is that it can be climbed upon and it is indeed an impressive site to stand atop her and look down the 89.9 metres (245 feet) of her length. Children run along her, it trumps the normal run of playground equipment.

HMAS Otway, Holbrook, Submarine Park
The upper casing of HMAS Otway at Submarine Park

We read the information panels and walk around her. She is an Oberon Class submarine, made in Scotland in 1966, commissioned in 1968 and in the service of the Royal Australian Navy until 1994. Her upper casing at Holbrook was dedicated at a memorial in 1997.

HMAS Otway, Submarine, Holbrook,
The stern of the pressure hull on display at Submarine Park

The park also houses The Holbrook Submarine Museum. Inside a small theatre we watch a hologram of Mrs Gundula Holbrook, widow of the late Commander Norman Holbrook VC RAN, as she tells her husband's World War One story.

We wander into the control room of the HMAS Otway, where the lighting is red. We look through the periscope at the town and walk by some of the cramped crew's quarters.

HMAS Otway, Holbrook, Periscope, Submarine,
The periscope of the HMAS Otway in the Submarine Museum. Visitors are welcome to take a look.

There are other displays, submarine escape suits, a hatch, photos of the HMAS Otway at sea, and a photographic history of the submarine's journey and re-construction in Holbrook.

Holbrook, Submarine Museum, HMAS Otway
Some of the displays at the Holbrook Submarine Museum

Submarine Park and The Holbrook Submarine Museum are located at the corner of Wallace and Albury Street, Holbrook, NSW, 2644. Holbrook is about 60kms north-east of Albury on the Hume Highway. More details can be found on their website by telephoning: (02) 6036 2422 or by email:

The museum is open daily from 10am to 4pm

Entry to the park and to the HMAS Otway is free. Cost for museum entry: (Dec 2014) is Adults $5.00, concession $4.00, Children $2.00, and families $10.00.

There is a café at the park.

An electric BBQ is free to the public 24 hours a day. There are undercover pavilions with tables and chairs, and an enclosed children's playground. Public toilets with disabled facilities are available.

Woolpack Inn Museum

The Woolpack Inn Museum is a two storey, heritage listed building, whose imposing verandahs dominate the Holbrook street scape. Originally built in 1895 as the Criterion Hotel, it traded until 1965. Volunteers set about converting the hotel into a museum and celebrated their success at its 1971 opening.

Woolpack Inn Museum, Holbrook
Woolpack Inn Museum (Image:

Inside is that cool dim light, characteristic of this vintage of building, when protection from the summer heat was from slender windows and wide verandahs. It reminds me of my grandparents' home.

An older gentleman surrounded by paraphernalia mans the counter. Despite the museum having 22 rooms, it is crammed full. Even the hallways boast marvellous reminders of yesteryear – a child's pram, a wooden wall mount telephone, ceramic based baby scales.

Woolpack Inn, Museum, Holbrook, Singer Sewing Machine
Antique sewing machines.

In a dining room overlooked by a portrait of Queen Victoria a long table is set with delicate china, patterned glass bowls and polished silver ware. In another room antique treadle sewing machines abound. In a bedroom an intricate lace blouse hangs over an iron bed base, a china bathroom set sits on a bedside table and below that, a chamber pot. A rag mat lays on the floor by the bed. I can remember my grandmother making these. I think I knew how to do it once but that was a long time ago.

The back yard is an acre of displays, an old fire engine from the Little Billabong Bush Fire Brigade, an 1872 drop slab school house, tractors, and carriages. A rabbiter's hut is set up as it might have been, spartan, a primitive tin caravan on three wheels.

Rabbiter's hut, Woolpack Inn, Holbrook, museum
A rabbiter's hut.

A vintage sign advertising motor oil guarantees individually numbered and registered refinery sealed cans. A horse drawn baker's cart offers fine grade breads and diabetic rolls.

Woolpack Inn, Museum, Baker's cart, Holbrook
A horse drawn baker's cart, advertising diabetic rolls

The Woolpack Museum is located at 83 Albury Street, Holbrook, NSW, 2644. Holbrook is about 60kms north-east of Albury on the Hume Highway. More details can be found on their website by telephoning: (02) 6036 2131 or by email:

The museum is open daily from 9.30am to 4pm (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and Good Friday.)

Cost (Dec 2014) is Adults $5.00, Concession $3.00, Children $1.00.

Devonshire Teas, coffee and snacks are available at Viv's Tea Rooms.

There are public toilets on site.

National Museum of Australian Pottery

The funny thing about the National Museum of Australian Pottery is that the shop windows are full of not pottery but vintage products; Bex powders, Osram light globes, Sundowner Jam, Lux Flakes, Billy Tea and stove black. They give no hint of the two storeys of meticulously displayed and labelled pottery within.

Australian Pottery, Holbrook, Geoff Ford,
The National Museum of Australian Pottery

The museum moved to Holbrook in 2006. Run by Geoff and Kerry Ford, it is dedicated to 19th and 20th century Australian pottery and displays over 1,600 pieces from over 120 pottery companies. The building was constructed in 1910, is heritage listed and for most of its life operated as a general store.

National Museum of Australian Pottery, Pottery, Museum, Holbrook
Two storeys of displays (Image:

We take our time viewing urns, water coolers, plates, teapots, jugs, bottles, pots, and vases. We are delighted to recognise some of the brands especially that of Bendigo pottery as we have not long since visited there. Alongside the pottery, vintage photographs, price lists, catalogues and advertising tell the story of these beautiful pieces.

The National Museum of Australian Pottery is located at 76 Albury Street, Holbrook, NSW, 2644. Holbrook is about 60kms north-east of Albury on the Hume Highway. More details can be found on their websit by telephoning: (02) 6036 3464 or by email:

The museum is open Thursday to Tuesday from 9.30am to 4.30pm (Closed Wednesdays and all of August), however the museum does recommend if you are travelling a distance to visit you contact them to make sure they are open.

Cost (Dec 2014) is Adults $5.00, Children $4.00, Family Passes $15.00. Devonshire teas are available for $10 which includes admission.

There are public toilets on site.

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Why? Where else can you walk on a submarine, appreciate antiques and explore the country's pottery history.
When: Daily except Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year and Good Friday. (Not Wednesday's or August for the National Museum of Australian Pottery)
Phone: (02) 6036 2422 Visitor Information Centre Greater Hume Shire Council
Where: Albury Street, Holbrook, NSW, 2644, about 60kms north-east of Albury
Cost: Submarine Park is free but see article for details of each museum's entry fees.
Your Comment
I enjoyed this article. I stopped briefly in Holbrook last year. I was in a truck with my mate, on a trip up to Sydney, so we were on a tight time schedule. He diverted off the highway to show me the Holbrook submarine. I would like to go back and see the Museums. Great article with lots of wonderful photos. I didn't know the pottery museum was so big.
by CassandraJoy (score: 3|1021) 1872 days ago
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