The Harbour Trust acknowledges the great sacrifices made by the Australian service people, including First Nations People, who lost their lives or suffered in the line of duty. This includes the men and women who served at North Fort, Headland Park and other former defence sites now under the protection of the Harbour Trust.
Read on to view our collection heroines of DigiTales by knowledgeable Harbour Trust volunteers, acquainting you with inspirational service people synonymous with our heritage places on Sydney Harbour.
Brigadier Dianne Gallasch has the distinction of being one of the final graduates of the Women’s Royal Australian Army Corps (WRAAC) School at Georges Heights in Mosman. In fact, Gallasch came first in her class and, in 2013, became the first female commandant of Duntroon, which had at one time prohibited women.
In August 1941, the government authorised the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) to fill key positions at North Fort – a military base at North Head, Manly, that was crucial to Sydney’s coastal defences. In this DigiTale, Harbour Trust volunteer Glyn sheds light on the role his late mother – Patricia Evans née Talberg – served at North Fort, including a facility shrouded in secrecy: The Plotting Room.
One of the names inscribed on the Australian Memorial Walk at North Head Sanctuary is that of Andy Young, a veteran of World War I and II. Harbour Trust volunteer, Andrew M, commemorates – and reveals his connection to – the decorated serviceman, who experienced war first hand before he had reached adulthood.
At one time stationed at North Fort in Manly, Don Donkin MBE (1929 to 2016) belonged to a very special era of gentlemen warrant officers who led by example, writes Harbour Trust volunteer and presenter Ron Ray. In his words, "The Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery has been blessed by a number of gentlemen but sadly they are a dying breed."
The Australian Memorial Walk at North Head Sanctuary features monuments to the major conflict periods in Australia’s history. Located in idyllic coastal bushland with views of Sydney Harbour, the paved pathway is engraved with the names of servicemen and women who defended Australia in peace time and war. Harbour Trust volunteer, Andrew M, honours two of the men inscribed on the walk: Privates JW and TR Miles, his great granduncles.
Harbour Trust sites, including North Head Sanctuary in Manly, occupy a significant place in Australia’s defence narrative. Michele Harper, a volunteer researcher for the Harbour Trust, shares the story of Brigadier Reginal Lee Rex Rabett, CMG – a gunner of renown who contributed to the military heritage of North Head.
PO BOX 607
Mosman NSW 2088