A contemporary interpretation of Australia’s first surf rescue was on Tuesday officially unveiled.
The brilliant sculpture is sited at the eastern end of Mrs York’s Garden.
The Together As One aboriginal sculpture tells the story of a significant historic event, says deputy mayor Cr Lisa Intemann.
“This event holds meaning to the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities,” said the deputy mayor.
“It depicts the heroic and sharing nature of Aboriginal people and occurred 189 years ago, on December 9, 1827.
“It has been confirmed as Australia’s first recorded surf rescue.”
Cr Intemann said seven Aboriginal men rescued the crew of a small pilot boat after a huge wave turned it over in the inner harbour.
A diary entry from Commandant Crotty said: ‘In the morning, after the ‘Alligator’ had sailed and the pilot had just landed in the inner harbour, a tremendous wave upset the boat throwing the crew of seven into the surge. The sea ran so high that no European would venture to assist them. Seven Aborigines coming up dashed into the surge and succeeded in gaining the boat, which they soon righted and placed four of the crew in her, after which they went to assist the other three men. They bought them safe on shore, one nearly exhausted. Nothing could exceed the bravery and humanity with which these poor blacks acting in this occasion.’
Governor Darling ordered a medal be struck for each of the seven men ‘along with blankets and trousers’.
Friends of Mrs York’s Garden Dianne Davison said the sculpture complements the work being carried out at the garden.
“This is a lovely addition to Mrs York’s Garden, overlooking this glorious location,” Mrs Davison said.
“Our work is about symbolising the history of the area; we want to bring the history back to this garden.
“We are certainly happy with the addition of this sculpture.”
Mrs Davison said volunteers had already constructed a boat-themed shelter which celebrates the shipping and timber industries.
Our work is about symbolising the history of the areaFriends of Mrs York’s Garden Dianne Davison
“The team at the Maritime Museum Slipway at Hibbard were heavily involved in this project, creating the authentic shelter using local timbers,” she said.
“Etched into the timber work is the word Hastings, which recognises the enormous impact timber merchant Nicholas Cain had in establishing a timber industry at Wauchope.”
The Friends’ next project will be working on the remnants of the waterfall garden.
Uncle Bill provided the welcome to country while Steve Donovan played the didgeridoo. Along with Cr Intemann, Crs Levido and Turner and mayor Peter Besseling also attended.