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Wickham to host Newcastle Merchant Navy Memorial service

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If you search the name on the internet, the ingredients listed in its history read much like the city of Newcastle – coal mining, pubs and shipping. 

And, at this year’s 48th Newcastle Merchant Navy Memorial Service on 3 June, shipping company R.W.Miller & Co will be honoured for its service to the former steel city. 

The annual memorial service commemorates the sacrifices made in Australia’s defence by merchant mariners in times of war. 

Newcastle Seaman’s Mission, 1917, Newcastle, NSW Photo: livinghistories.newcastle.edu.au

The Newcastle and Hunter has a rich maritime heritage, dating back to the traversing of the Hunter River by Lt. John Shortland, in 1797.   

Generations of families from the region have been involved in designing, building, repairing, servicing and crewing ships over the past two centuries. 

In both World Wars, many of the Hunter’s merchant seafarers played a vital role in ensuring that Australia’s strategic supply lines remain open.  

In fact, during World War II, Newcastle and the region became the centre of Australia’s Industrial War effort, with vital cargo and essential minerals, steel, ship building material, coke and coal all transported by ships from the port of Newcastle. 

The ships were manned by Australian and foreign seafarers, many of the latter exiled from their invaded homelands, with many losing their lives off the east coast of Australia. 

The Newcastle Merchant Navy Memorial Service, to be held at the Mission to Seafarers Newcastle (96 Hannell Street, Wickham) is a tribute to those brave lost souls. 

The event on Saturday 3 June begins at 11am sharp, with guests asked to arrive by 10.45am. 

There will be a Mission to Seafarers bus transfer from Water Police Station between 10.15am and 10.50am for those parking at Carrington. 

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