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More stories are being revealed

04 Dec 2019

More stories are being revealed Image

By Sue Dight

It has been a busy time at the Mission to Seafarers Victoria (MtSV) and even with the scaffolding up all along the front of the building, activity is rife inside!

The old render that is coming off along with a century of dust and dirt, (the horrific graffiti also) means that there is a bit of dust around the outside, but inside is open and welcoming.  

Currently on show is an exhibition in the Heritage Centre until the end of January called Encountering People, Places, Things at the Mission to Seafarers - a photographic exhibition by Professor Uma Kothari. It is a great opportunity to discover more about the Mission and its history. The foundation stone trowel recovered earlier this year is also on display.   

We have also been working on a film, to be released in February, on the Ladies of the Harbour Lights Guild and the Merchant Seafarers of WWI.  It highlights the work that the women did to support the sailors and soldiers during the conflict.  It also shows how Melburnians supported the work of the Mission to ensure the current building met its fundraising targets to provide for the men a comfortable and safe place to be.  

A story we have pieced together from the archive based on this picture of a cake; a party was organised for Saturday, December 8, 1928 at 3pm and Captain Charles Alfred Melbourne Derham, son of Frederick Thomas Derham, partner and managing director of Swallow & Ariell Pty Ltd (biscuit company founded in 1854 in Port Melbourne) donated a 21st Birthday cake. 

The Derham family had been involved with the Port Melbourne Mission since the beginning as the factory was producing “ship’s biscuits”. The company was renowned for its patriotic fundraising campaigns during both world wars. They also supplied the Mission with plum puddings for every one of its Christmas events.

Captain C.A.M Derham enlisted in 1915 and was discharged in 1919. The same year he married Eileen Cuscaden; sister of Beatrice Cuscaden (Honorary Secretary of the South Yarra branch of the LHLG) and daughter of Dr George Cuscaden, previously ship’s surgeon, honorary surgeon of the Women’s Hospital and director of Swallow & Ariell.

Families and businesses supporting the Mission at all times

You can continue to support MtSV as we continue to take care of the seafarers who deliver your Christmas.  Your tinsel, new phones - all delivered safely over the ocean to you.  Many crews will be at sea on Christmas Day. Others who will be in port, others stuck out in the bay as anchorage is cheaper than being in port. How about a present for these seafarers? We know they all love chocolate, chips, nuts, and something for their families when they get home. Would you like to contribute to a special parcel for the crews? Drop something in, or write them a card to say thank you, as we will be packing boxes on December 10, so that parcels will be ready for opening on Christmas Day.  

All of this is taking place while the Mission remains open to not only the seafarers, but to hundreds of people who are celebrating the silly season with parties and get-togethers in the courtyard and the newly refurbished Main Hall. Drop in anytime - the Mission is open 365 days of the year from 10am to 10pm.  It is a great place for a quiet drink after work, or the lovely, shady secret garden, will re-open in January.  


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