Dedication to Norah Head Air-Sea Memorial

Dedication to Norah Head Air-Sea Memorial Main Image

By Emma McBride MP

04 December 2021

Good morning, everyone. 

I'd like to start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Darkinjung people, and I would like to pay my respects to Elders past, present, and emerging.

I would also like to acknowledge everyone who has joined us here today, including: Toukley SL, their President Bob Wilson and his wife Narelle, Jenny Vaughan from Norah Head Ratepayers Association, John Hinks from the Norah Head Boat and Recovery club, Daniel O'Brien from the US Small Ships Association, Marine Rescue NSW and State Member for Wyong, David Harris MP.

I also give my special thanks to Bill Hignett, Unit Commander at Marine Rescue Norah Head for inviting me to give a dedication today.

We’re here today to honour the memory of the Royal Australian Navy Air Sea Rescue units of the Second World War.

During the Second World War, Australia’s Air Sea Rescue service operated 20 ships, right along this Coast up until 1966.

In this time, they conducted many search and rescue operations off our coastline.

After digging through their archives over the past few years, Marine Rescue Norah Head has uncovered some incredible stories and photographs of these rescues, including one of people on the beach standing with their raft after they were saved in 1942.

The servicemen who conducted these search and rescue operations deserve nothing short of a dedicated memorial to honour the lifesaving work they did.

This memorial was installed last year, thanks to a Federal Government grant under the Saluting Their Service program.

I’m told this memorial is the only one of its kind in Australia, dedicated to these ships and crews.

It exists because of the hard work and dedication of Marine Rescue Norah Head, a highly valued community organisation made up of more than 50 active members.

They continue the work of the Air-Sea rescue crews, by monitoring the radio waves from morning to night, keeping us all safe.

If a boat is in trouble, Marine Rescue Norah Head will radio their crews and dispatch a team to help out.

I’m proud to stand here today, to remember the servicemen who kept watch over our coastline and protected locals for many, many years.

They made sacrifices to protect us all.

So today, we remember you, we honour you and we thank you for the work that you did.

May future generations of Coasties continue this tradition and honour you for many years to come.