A DOWNPOUR drenched Sydney as guests arrived for a joint networking function on the nineteenth-century barque James Craig. Shipping industry professionals of all ages gathered below deck to take cover, connect, eat pizza and have a good time.

The Merchant Navy War Memorial Fund works to ensure Australia’s merchant navy is recognised for its role in the nation’s history, and Young Shipping Australia is a community of young industry professionals. The two organisations co-hosted the informal event to join networks and share ideas and experiences.

The evening kicked off with a short presentation on the history of the James Craig, from carrying cargo around Cape Horn to sinking off the coast of Tasmania to being refloated and eventually restored. The historic vessel is now owned and sailed by the Sydney Heritage Fleet.

MNWMF chair David Field said it was terrific to see so many people on board representing the many different facets of the industry. Mr Field gave a shout-out to special guests Reverend Un Tay and Sister Mary Leahy, representing the Mission to Seafarers and Stella Maris, respectively.

“All of us do different things in terms of shipping and maritime, but the work that the Mission to Seafarers and Stella Maris do to look after the seafarers from around the world that [visit] our shores, is absolutely remarkable,” he said.

Young Shipping Australia chair Amber Albrecht said the event had been three years in the making due to Covid restrictions. She thanked everyone involved in the extended planning process.

“We look forward to celebrating with you guys tonight,” she said.

The rain eased up in time for guests to continue conversations on the deck, watch the crew at work and enjoy a few rays of sun before nightfall.

View the photo gallery of the event

This article appeared in the December 2023/January 2024 edition of DCN Magazine