Opinion: Bravery in Newcastle remembered

SHIPS navigating their way through our harbour are a common sight, however, historically this was a journey fraught with danger and earned Newcastle a reputation as one of the world's most dangerous ports.

Hundreds of ships and lives were lost in its vicinity with the first wreck in 1800.

From 1838 a lifeboat and crews were on hand to assist ships in distress and this service remained until 1946.

They risked life and limb to bring sailors and passengers back to shore.

They saved hundreds of lives, sometimes at a cost of their own.

There were also the Rocket Brigades, who earned the name from their rescue technique.

A rocket launcher was used to send a rope onto the ship and those aboard were hauled ashore.

The brigade responded to the Susan Gilmore in 1884, the Adolphe in 1904 and the stranding of the Sygna.

The council's Place Making program, in partnership with the Victoria Lifeboats Descendants and Friends and Newcastle Port Corporation, commissioned a public artwork on Nobbys Headland to remember the rescue crew members.

Thanks must go to Pamela Harrison, author of Man The Lifeboat, for bringing to light this history of our city.

A sculptured memorial that represents the Victoria lifeboats and the rocket launcher has been created and will be unveiled this Friday, December 13, at 11am.

It will be followed by a prayer service at Christ Church Cathedral at 2pm.

The service will pay respect to those who lost their lives at sea.

Newcastle lord mayor Jeff McCloy

Newcastle lord mayor Jeff McCloy


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