A cen­tury on and Yon­gala mys­tique still a draw­card

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page - by Alexis Gill­ham alexis. gill­ham@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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.’’

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