"Nerita" MemorialPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Roger Johnson

The gates to the Ipswich Showgrounds commemorate those who lost their lives in the sinking of the "Nerita" in Morton Bay in June 1939. The gates were erected by public subscription and list the names of the men who had lived in Ipswich or had been connected with the city.

The Nerita left Brisbane on Saturday 10th June 1939 to fish for snapper between Cape Moreton and Caloundra and was due back in Brisbane the same evening.  The launch was a large, well-built one with a beam of 12feet and was capable of weathering the open sea but the weather was good all along the coast.  By June 12, the Queensland Times headlines read "No trace of fishing party".

Private planes chartered by a brother of Mr Carey and another by Mrs Biltoft reported their searches were fruitless.  On June 15, five aeroplanes, including two RAAF Avro Anson bombers, failed to find any trace of the Nerita even though the search was extended 300 miles along the coast and up to 40 miles seaward.

It was on June 19 that people read in their newspapers that the Nerita's dinghy was found overturned near Cape Moreton.  It was sighted by captain Bruce Munro in the last 20 minutes of a 2200-mile search in a Dragon Rapide plane chartered by relatives of the missing men.   The dinghy was picked up by the pilot steamer, Mathew Flinders, but no bodies were recovered.

On June 26, 1939, a large number of people met at the Ipswich Council chambers to arrange in what way the public could best express sympathy with the relatives of all those lost on the Nerita.   A committee comprising the mayor, J C Minnis, J Francis MP, aldermen F L Foote and R Battye and Messrs P W Moller, A E Whitehead, A Nichol, R Olsen, J Henry, E Lawson, O M Barrett and L Jackson was formed. It was arranged to hold a memorial service in the Wintergarden Theatre on Sunday, July 2.

The official opening of the Nerita Memorial at the Ipswich showground entrance will take place tomorrow at 2.45 p.m. The President of the Q.P. and A. Society (Dr. F. L. Foote) will introduce the Chairman of the Committee (Mr. A. E. Bell), who will invite the Mayor (Ald. J. C. Minnis) to open the gates. Two selections will be played by the Vice-Regal Band. All relatives of the victims, subscribers, and the public are invited to attend the ceremony, which it is expected will occupy about 40min.
Queensland Times (Ipswich, Qld), 11 May 1940.



Address:81 Warwick Road, Ipswich Showgrounds, Ipswich, 4305
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -27.627348
Long: 152.759546
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Gates
Monument Theme:Disaster
Actual Event Start Date:14-June-1939
Actual Event End Date:14-June-1939


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 12th May, 1940
Front Inscription
JUNE 1939
Right Side Inscription
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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