Where are we now?

Where are we now?
Where are we now? Tahmoor, NSW. Updated 7th December 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 96. Geraldton

A Beautiful Memorial

Mum, Jo, Grace and I did another power walk this morning. We were lucky enough to see two Osprey's souring over the sand dunes looking for breakfast, they were so beautiful. There were two man made nests on unused power poles that they have made their home in. The weather was glorious, but unfortunately it was not to stay that way. By mid-morning the winds had come up and it got worse as the day wore on.

We decide to call in at the visitor information centre this morning, and it was there that we learnt about a free tour at 10:30 at the HMAS Sydney II memorial. We purchased Scarlett a new hat, mum got another fridge magnet, and we then made our way up to the memorial.

HMAS Sydney II Memorial

Waiting Woman
& Stele
The memorial was magnificent, and the volunteer who gave the guided tour was very informative and interesting. The story behind the memorial is;

On November 19th, 1941 somewhere west of Carnavon the light cruiser H.M.A.S. Sydney II encountered what appeared to be a foreign merchant ship. As the Sydney approached the ship, it signalled that she was the Dutch merchant ship 'Straat Malakka'. The Captain of HMAS Sydney, Joseph Burnett, requested that the ship hoist her secret signal. The merchant ship hoisted the German Ensign revealing that it was not a merchant ship at all, but the German raider 'The Kormoran'. A battle ensued with the Sydney being struck by a torpedo within minutes of the battle, she was however able to hit the Kormoran three times. The battle would end with both ships sinking, 300 men from the Kormoran made it to shore but unfortunately all 645 souls of H.M.A.S. Sydney II perished.

Some information on the memorial itself;

The memorial was designed around a circular theme "symbolic of eternity and the circle of life". The "Dome of Souls" structure, comprises of a stainless steel dome, made up of 645 silver gulfs, a polished bronze propeller in the centre of a granite ceremonial area and an "Eternal Flame" that hangs above an altar.

The "Stele", overlooking the Indian Ocean, is a 19m high sculpture made from stainless steel and was designed to represent the prow (forward part of a ship) of the HMAS Sydney II. The sculpture is also symbolic of a 'stele', which is an inscribed upright stone used as a grave marker.

The Waiting Woman captures the personal dispair of the many families, especially the wives and mothers who lost a sailor in the tragedy. The Waiting Woman stares out to sea in vain hope of glimpsing the return of her loved one.

Since the memorial was erected, the wreck of the ship has been located. I found it very interesting that the direction the statue of the 'Waiting Woman' is looking, is actually straight towards the ships current resting place.

We stopped in on the way back to check out the fish market. Mum decided that banana prawns were on the menu for lunch, and purchased a kilo. After Shane and mum peeled and de-veined all the prawns, we had a lovely prawn sandwich each, and they were really yummy!

After lunch mum decided to stay home while Shane, Scarlett and I went in to visit the Western Australian Museum - Geraldton. There was a very moving display on the HMAS Sydney II, and a lot of other cool stuff. There were dinosaurs, early Australia settlement in Geralton displays, and information on the stolen generation. Scarlett had a ball looking at the stuffed animals and preserved insects. She also dressed up in all the dinosaur costumes.

We spent the afternoon relaxing back at the van with Nana and Scarlett doing some craft, while Shane and I had a cuppa and perused over tourist information pamphlets for our next destination. We had a lovely BBQ dinner and introduced Nana to 'Jenga'. Shane and I are off to the movies tonight to see 'Thor', it has been quite awhile since we went out together and saw a movie. Thanks to Nana, this is now possible.

Prototype Cray Fishing Submarine in town

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