Well-wishers are being urged to shout a Montrose-built warship a birthday drink as it fights to stay out of the scrapyard.
HMAS Curlew was built in 1953 by Montrose Ship Building Company Ltd as a minesweeper and celebrates its 65th birthday today.
Curlew’s new owner Kris Mitchell paid $1 for the old minesweeper after she was eventually decommissioned in April 1990.
The warship has been sitting on the other side of the world in southern Tasmania but is in danger of being scrapped unless $100,000 is raised.
Mr Mitchell starting fundraising to save the minesweeper and is urging people to “shout a drink” today for the old warhorse.
He said: “On October 6 1953 the warship now known as Curlew was born.
“The fact is that she is a real warship still intact and provides a snapshot of a time not that long ago.
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“It may be a novel idea but we are inviting people to celebrate and have a drink and a toast for her. Curlew does not drink alcohol although plenty have drunk on her.
“But she does drink diesel and the cost of that is large to say the least. Still if there are enough people prepared to shout the old girl the price of one drink only then it will greatly help her.
“There is a current fundraising page set up should people want to shout her a drink and you will be making a great difference.”
She was renamed HMS Montrose, and, from August 1955 to October 1957, was used by the Tay Division of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve.
Subsequently, she reverted to her former name and was placed in storage until purchased by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in the 1960s.
Curlew was converted into Australia’s first mine-hunter in 1967 and served with the Royal Australian Navy for 28 years — clearing Second World War-era mines from the waters around Papua New Guinea, being one of the first ships to respond to the Melbourne–Voyager disaster in February 1964, and helping Darwin get back on its feet after Cyclone Tracy in 1974.
During the month-long operation, several sunken trawlers and other navigational hazards were located, most of them victims of the cyclone, and whose fate had previously been unknown.
Curlew had steamed more than 400,000 nautical miles in 40,000 hours before she was decommissioned.
Mr Mitchell fell in love with the ship when he first saw it 20 years ago but with a price tag of close to $1 million at the time, he could not afford it.
In April this year, he paid $1 but the bills are growing. There are hopes the warship can eventually be transformed into a floating backpacker’s hostel.
The fundraising page can be viewed at https://www.gofundme.com/5jfg3wg