All aboard for Yongala tribute dinner
DROP AN ANCHOR: Yongala Lodge manager Natalie Flecker and Yongala tragic Steve Price prepare for the commemorative dinner to be held on March 26 HISTORY buffs will receive a rare insight into a valuable piece of Townsville’s past during a tribute dinner marking the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the SS Yongala.
North Ward’s Yongala Lodge will be transformed into the historic vessel to commemorate the shipping tragedy that left the Townsville region in mourning more than a century ago.
The Yongala sank in Cape Bowling Green Bay, just south of Townsville, on March 23, 1911.
It remains 16m under the sea after going to ground in cyclonic conditions 100 years ago.
Diners are set to be treated to a fourcourse recreation of the official SS Yongala captain’s dinner menu.
More than 20 direct descendants of the 122 passengers who lost their lives during the tragedy are tipped to be among the 150 guests expected to attend the dinner.
Yongala Lodge manager Natalie Flecker said the dinner was a tribute to the Yongala in shaping local history, and its ongoing impact as one of our leading tourist attractions.
‘‘ The evening is a fitting commemoration of the anniversary, but it will also celebrate the lives of the men and women who died and remember them in a positive way,’’ she said.
The 106m-long vessel was launched on April 29, 1903, complete with state rooms and a promenade deck.
The vessel encountered cyclonic conditions during the 208-nauticalmile trip between Mackay and Townsville on the way to Cairns from Melbourne.
The dinner forms part of a series of events to pay homage to the lives of those lost in the tragedy.
The evening will include a charity auction with proceeds going to the volunteer-based Townsville Maritime Museum, which holds the largest collection of Yongala artefacts in the world.
Yongala tragic Steve Price will lead the journey throughout the evening to be held on Saturday. March 26.
Tickets can be booked by calling the Yongala Lodge on 4772 4633.