Discover “the Mission”
By Sue Dight - CEO
At the Mission to Seafarers I am still shocked by how many people have no idea of who we are and what we do in this lovely old building, “the Mission”.
We have been here since 1917 and I’m sure if you have looked at the place or cycled past our door you have wondered about it.
Don’t mind the shabby fences – they hide the beautiful gardens within. The grey facade – looks old, but in WWI, no extra paint was available, so it never got painted. It is lovely inside.
You will be greeted by one of the team – staff or volunteer, to check in and take a look around. We have a bar where you can get a coffee, snack or a drink.
An exhibition is always up in our Heritage room. You can stand in the middle of the Dome and sing, or sit peacefully in the chapel and admire the stained-glass windows. There is no charge to come in and discover this place on your doorstep.
Along the way you will discover how vital our work is in caring for the seafarers. A seafarer is a person who regularly travels by sea, a sailor. They are the ones who work on the tankers that bring us our bulk goods like gas and oil, and container ships for coffee beans and computers.
You might have seen a few stories recently of seafarers who have jumped ship. Imagine sitting out in the bay, seeing the city lights for weeks while you wait for another cargo to go to the next port, but you aren’t allowed ashore. You just sit there thinking.
Nothing to do as your phone card has run out. No-one new to talk to as you have been with the same 20 people for the past eight months. The food is not to your liking, you don’t get on with your boss, you are scared for your family at home – you just want to get off. Would you jump into the bay late at night?
We try to help every seafarer that calls for our help. Help to provide phone cards, items that you and I can go to the shops for – hair clippers, chocolate, new socks, a deck of cards.
Since January 1 this year we have shopped for 15,500 items, spent $197,000, delivered care packages to more than 190 ships, all for no profit.
The Mission to Seafarers is not funded by the federal nor state governments, but by you joining us at the bar, by donations, by holding events and by the communities that support us by using the building regularly.
Perhaps you might like to join one of the groups that meet at the Mission.
- Docklands 500 Club
- Southbank Rotary
- Offshore Ships Specialists Australia
- Melbourne Bushwalkers
- City Light Church
- Naval Associations of Victoria
- Open Door Singers
- Maritime Museums Victoria
- First Fleet Association.
There is so much going on that supports our work, but without community supporting us we will be always that “hidden” gem.
Keep up to date with what’s on at the Mission on our website or sign up for our free newsletter at missiontoseafarers.com.au •