Speaker: Dr Peter Yule
Price: $15 RHSV or RSV members - $20 non-members
Time: 6.00 pm refreshments 6.30 Lecture
Start Date: 25 September 2008
End Date: 25 September 2008
Address: Royal Society of Victoria, 9 Victoria Street
Phone: 9326 9288
Writing the history of the Collins Class Submarine project
The Australian navy has six Collins Class submarines, designed by the Swedish company
Kockums, and built at Port Adelaide between 1989 and 2003.
The construction of the Collins class submarines was Australia's largest and most
controversial military purchase. The submarine project was subjected to
an unprecedented level of media scrutiny and criticism, became highly politicised and
on several occasions faced the prospect of being abandoned.
Writing the history of the submarine project proved to be an interesting cultural
clash as I wandered through arms fairs, interviewed fanatical weapons experts and
waded through the container loads of documents generated by the project.
I was surprised by the conclusions I came to. The general public perception of the
submarine project is that it was a hugely expensive failure and that the submarines
are noisy 'dud subs'. The reality is very different. The submarines are not 'noisy as
a rock concert' but they do have a major defect which the media and the public have
To reveal this defect will lay me open to massive retribution from international arms
dealers, but I promise to tell all at the RHSV/Royal Society lecture on 25
Peter Yule is a Research Fellow of the History Department of the University of
Melbourne. He has written widely on medical, business and local history, with his
recent books including a biography of Sir Ian Potter and Steel, Spies and Spin: the
Collins Class Submarine Story. He is currently writing a biography of W.L. Baillieu.