A century on and Yongala mystique still a drawcard
AN ADMIRER of the Yongala, Peter Harris yesterday paid his respects to an artefact from the historic shipwreck during 100th anniversary commemorations.
A total of 122 people were killed when the Yongala sank off Townsville on March 23, 1911. The wreck still stirs the emotions of those affected by the sinking and of those who treasure it as a dive site.
THE irony of Joan Fallon’s visit to the 100-year anniversary of the sinking of the SS Yongala is that she would not be here today if her grandmother had stepped on t he i l l - f ated ship as planned.
The fact has hit the Brisbane resident so hard that she ensures she pays tribute every year to those families who weren’t so fortunate, at the anniversary of the sinking of the ship in Townsville.
She was in Townsville yesterday with her brother Ian Harris and more than hundred people as they listened to the history of the tragedy at a centenary memorial c e r e m o n y h e l d a t t h e Townsville Maritime Museum.
‘‘ It was my grandmother who didn’t get on board and my mother was also supposed to get on board,’’ Ms Fallon said.
‘‘ The children were young, my grandmother was 30 but she had five children under 10.
‘‘ She decided for some reason not to get on . . . there are lots of stories but we don’t know why.’’