Home' Afloat : AFLOAT March 2015 Contents 44 AFLOAT.com.au March 2015
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The Australian Mariners’ Welfare Society, a company originally
known as the Sydney Sailors’ Home, celebrated the 150th
anniversary of the establishment of the Home in the Rocks area
of Sydney at a special commemorative ceremony on 2 February
to mark their sesquicentenary.
The Home opened its doors at 106 George Street North on 1
February 1865 and for the next 114 years accommodated thousands
of seamen of all nationalities coming to the port of Sydney in
merchant ships, providing them with cheap accommodation
Naval personnel of the Royal Navy’s Australian Squadron
then based in Sydney also lodged at the Home up until 1890
when Royal Naval House was opened in nearby Grosvenor Street
to cater for them.
The Home itself was closed in April 1979 following compulsorily
resumption of the property by the Sydney Cove Redevelopment
Authority. Alternative accommodation was found for those who
still remained as lodgers in the Home when it ceased operations.
However, the original building survives today as a heritage-
listed property maintained by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore
Authority and currently houses the Billich Art Gallery and the
Sailors Thai Restaurant.
With the closure of the Home its management, recognising
generational changes then occurring in the shipping industry
along with a declining demand for accommodation of the kind
offered by the Sailors’ Home, sought alternative avenues by
which it could continue to serve seafarers but in ways quite
different to those envisaged when the Home was established in
This ushered in a new era for the organisation, which discarded
the Sailors’ Home name and reinvented itself as the Australian
Mariners’ Welfare Society.
Nowadays it makes annual grants of thousands of dollars
to organisations such as the Mission to Seafarers and Stella
Maris Clubs operating in 30 ports throughout Australia for
various purposes including
maintenance and upkeep
of their buildings and for
the supply and ongoing
funding of Internet facilities
for visiting seafarers to
enable them to contact
families at home.
Also, scholarships for
study at the Australian
Maritime College at Launceston (Tasmania) and at selected TAFE
colleges are offered to promising young Australians planning
a seagoing career as well as to those already at sea who wish
to upgrade their qualifications. From time to time serving and
retired seafarers and their dependants are also provided with
appropriate assistance in times of hardship. h
Disposal options for
Australia has the highest usage of emergency beacons
per capita in the world with over 350,000 beacons registered
in Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) database.
AMSA is urging owners of EPIRBs to dispose of their
unwanted beacons correctly. AMSA spokesperson Lisa Martin
said emergency beacons can inadvertently activate if they are
not correctly disposed, which often occurs when beacons are
thrown in the rubbish and end up in tips.
“ Search assets and personnel tasked to look for beacons ...
may then be unavailable for a real emergency,” Ms Martin said.
Beacon owners can still dispose of unwanted beacons
responsibly by contacting their local battery store or maritime
safety agency. A small fee may apply.
Anyone who disposes of their unwanted beacon should
update their details with AMSA to de-register their beacon.
Details can be updated online at ww w.amsa .gov.au /beacons
or by phoning AMSA on 1800 406 406. h
Sydney Sailors’ Home building
survives today as a heritage-listed
Milestone sesquicentenary for
Sydney Sailors’ Home
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