Original plans for the seating and positioning of guests, dignitaries and members of the public for the HMAS Sydney Memorial Mast ceremony at Bradley’s Head have been rediscovered and photographed in high resolution and are now available online.
The plans are dated 1st of November 1934 – 3 weeks prior to the major harbourside event on 24 November 1934 that commemorated the sinking of the SMS Emden by the HMAS Sydney. The Daily – on its front page and inside page – reported on ‘Mosman’s Fine Ceremony,’ ‘Details of Procedure’ and ‘Time Table’ of events including maritime arrangements on the day.
In the words of fellow historian Gavin Souter –
Mosman’s mayor at the time Jack Carroll was a diligent local historian, and with his enthusiastic support another 27 tons of history was added to the municipal coastline.
Nine RAAF Wapiti aircraft were timed to fly over as His Royal Highness’ ship HM Sussex passed by, the flag ‘broken on the mast’ and the national anthem played. The whole event must have been quite a spectacle with ‘thousands’ in attendance on this gazetted public holiday, bathed in ‘brilliant sunshine.’
Interestingly enough, proposed plans dating from 1928 for a monument to HMAS Sydney at the entrance to Port Jackson over the reef known as Sow and Pigs have also come to light.
Little else is known of these plans except that they did not come to fruition. The estimated costs of erecting the mast at the Sow and Pigs in mid 1929 meant that the project was “deferred”- permanently. It was also assessed to be logistically impossible to “surmount the Hyde Park Memorial with the tripod mast”, therefore, the HMAS Sydney Memorial Mast was destined to become a prominent landmark for visitors and viewers on the north, rather than the south side of Sydney Harbour.
Jack Carroll’s “fervent wish” was fulfilled. The HMAS Sydney Memorial Mast, dedicated in a “spirit of peace” has become “a treasured memorial from which future generations may absorb inspiration and guidance”.
- The sinking of the SMS Emden by the HMAS Sydney
- About the HMAS Sydney Memorial Mast
- HMAS Sydney Memorial Mast ceremony at Bradley’s Head
- Mosman : a history – Gavin Souter, Melbourne University Press, 1994