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Donald MacRae, brave Newcastle harbour master

Captain Donald MacRae, former harbour master of the Port of Newcastle, Australia, was credited in some quarters with being the last Allied serviceman to be evacuated after the failed British invasion attempt at Gallipoli, Turkey, in World War 1. His long career was punctuated by acts of great bravery. He died and was cremated in 1963 and his ashes remained among the possessions of his son-in-law until 2015, when some of his grandchildren scattered them off Big Ben Reef, Newcastle, the scene of one of his famous rescues. In 2023 those grandchildren fixed a plaque at…

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Read more about the article Premonition of disaster: the Meeinderry sinking
The Meeinderry. Photo from the State Library of Victoria.

Premonition of disaster: the Meeinderry sinking

ON the night of May 22, 1922, a seaman by the name of West had a bad dream. West was a fireman aboard the NSW collier Meeinderry, due to leave Sydney next day for its regular run to Newcastle. The elderly steamer - built in 1884 - was a veteran of Australian coastal shipping, originally a passenger ship but converted for the coal trade and operated since 1919 by R.W. Miller. The previous year Millers had tried to sell the old ship to a group interested in using it in a Norfolk Island trading enterprise but…

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Adolphe, Newcastle’s most enduring shipwreck

For well over a century, residents of the port city of Newcastle, NSW, have lived with the wreck of the French barque Adolphe, lost on September 30, 1904. The remains of the once-proud steel four-masted ship have been steadily rusting away over the decades, and the ruined bow - which now forms part of the northern breakwater at the harbour's entrance - is still an appealing subject for weekend photographers. Adolphe in the 1980s. Photo by Greg Ray. The story of the famous wreck has been written many times. One of the most comprehensive accounts I…

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