PHOTOS | Permanent memorial to the Sygna wreck will be erected on Stockton Beach before summer 2019

From the Fairfax archive: The 116-metre longbow section of the Norwegian bulk carrier Sygna moored at the bottom of Stockton Street, Nelson Bay in 1974. After it ran aground on Stockton Beach, what could be salvaged of the carrier was towed into the Bay.
From the Fairfax archive: The 116-metre longbow section of the Norwegian bulk carrier Sygna moored at the bottom of Stockton Street, Nelson Bay in 1974. After it ran aground on Stockton Beach, what could be salvaged of the carrier was towed into the Bay.

A permanent memorial to the Sygna wreck will be erected on Stockton Beach before summer 2019.

The memorial has been in the works since it became apparent a decade ago that the famous ship wreck was gradually succumbing to the forces of nature.

Sunday, May 26 marked the anniversary of the ship's grounding in 1974.

The wreck - Australia's largest - sat watching over Stockton Beach for more than four decades before it's hull all but disappeared from view in winter 2016.

From the Fairfax archive: The Sygna being towed into Nelson Bay in 1974.

From the Fairfax archive: The Sygna being towed into Nelson Bay in 1974.

An Office of Environment and Heritage spokeswoman said that the Worimi Conservation Lands Board of Management would install an interpretative sign on the beachfront near the wreck.

"[This will] share the story and commemorate this intriguing piece of shipping history with park visitors, and telling other natural and cultural stories about the Aboriginal-owned Worimi Conservation Lands," she said.

The sign shelter was already on the beach near the wreck. The sign and artwork would be installed before the summer holidays this year.

From the Fairfax archive: What was left of the Sygna being towed into Nelson Bay in 1974. Photograph by Bon Brewster September 1974.

From the Fairfax archive: What was left of the Sygna being towed into Nelson Bay in 1974. Photograph by Bon Brewster September 1974.

"It will be a double-sided interpretive display, with artwork including historical photographs and other images," the spokeswoman said.

"Sharing the Sygna's story is timely as the wreck is now almost fully submerged by the sea, with parts of the hull only visible at low tide."

From the Fairfax archive: The bow section of the Sygna in Nelson Bay in 1974.

From the Fairfax archive: The bow section of the Sygna in Nelson Bay in 1974.

The infamous east-coast low that hit on the afternoon of May 25, 1974 - known as the Sygna Storm - closed the ports of Newcastle and Sydney.

During its 150-minute peak the gale, with gusts of up to 170km/h, buffeted the whole region and caused incredible damage.

From the Fairfax archive: The bow section of the Sygna in Nelson Bay in 1974.

From the Fairfax archive: The bow section of the Sygna in Nelson Bay in 1974.

The Sygna's skipper, 57-year-old Ingolf Lunde, missed hearing the NSW Weather Bureau's gale warning for waters south of Kempsey.

As a consequence the 53,000 tonne Norwegian bulk carrier ran aground the following morning and all 31 trapped sailors had to be rescued from the vessel.

From the Fairfax archive: Traffic on Nelson Bay Road in 1974. People parked along Nelson Bay Road to walk over to the sand dunes to see the Sygna wreck.

From the Fairfax archive: Traffic on Nelson Bay Road in 1974. People parked along Nelson Bay Road to walk over to the sand dunes to see the Sygna wreck.

Unlike earlier ships, that were made from wrought iron, the Sygna was made from high-tensile shipping steel. Although stronger and lighter, shipping steel has a shorter lifespan.

By comparison, the iron wreck of the Adolphe, which ran aground at Stockton in 1904, has deteriorated much slower.

This story Lasting memorial to the Sygna to go up at site of wreck first appeared on Port Stephens Examiner.

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