It was just after 9pm on the night of 31 August 1937 when the Postmaster at Old Bar noticed the impending disaster – ship’s lights looming out of the fog and heading towards submerged rocks just off shore.1
The Urana, a steamer carrying 100 tons of coal from Newcastle en route to the Macleay River, struck the reef.
It soon became apparent that the ship was lost and lifeboats were launched. Notwithstanding the difficulties of the breaking surf, all crew bar one managed to reach the safety of the beach: in the confusion one seaman remained aboard the stricken vessel.2
A message was conveyed to the Captain of Taree-Old Bar Surf Life-saving Club, Vic Rushby, in Taree where the surf boat was laid up for maintenance.
He and four other club members transported the boat back to Old Bar and effected a daring rescue of the lone sailor.3
The ship’s owners, the North Coast Steam Navigation Company, presented the Club with 50 guineas in appreciation4 and the rescuers were later awarded Meritorious Awards by the Surf Life-saving Association of Australia.5
The salvaged anchor from the Urana is now displayed near the Surf Club.
Author: Penny Teerman
1 Northern Champion, Saturday 4 September 1937 Pg 6
2 Manning River Times, Saturday 4 September 1937 Pgs 5 & 6
3 Surf in Australia 1 October 1937 Pg 12 and reprinted in Our First 60 Years – Old Bar Surf Lifesaving Club 1988
4 Manning River Times, Wednesday 15 September 1937 Pg 3
5 Manning River Times, Wednesday 19 January 1938 Pg 1
Photo courtesy of the Brown and Levick family files