Friday, July 18, 2008

Fireman memorial - George Anderson

The information for today's post was written by a friend, Ray, who knew I was featuring aspects of Port Adelaide on my blog. Thanks Ray.

Located in amongst many of the old memorial statues in the Cheltenham Cemetery is one of a very brave fireman, George James Alexander Anderson, who along with two other firemen tragically lost their lives when the munition ship, "The City of Singapore", exploded and caught fire on 26th April, 1924.

This lifesize, look-alike statue, tombstone and white tiled/marble edged grave site belonging to the much respected Portonian, was erected in his memory by contributions made by the citizens of Port Adelaide and surrounding districts. It was sculptured to exact detail from a family photograph, in Sweden, and on completion shipped out to Port Adelaide for erection.

Beneath the tiled surface, there are three coffins--two belonging to his parents, Jim and Kate Anderson, and his. It is not widely known, that enclosed in his coffin is a small silver trove containing only some of his remains (a few bones and dentures) recovered from the disaster scene.

To accommodate the weight of his statue and memorial stone are several ex-railway lines and steel reinforcements, strategically placed to prevent collapse or topple over.

On the day of his funeral, trading and business in Port Adelaide came to a standstill. It commenced with a memorial service in the capacity filled St Paul's Anglican Church (in St. Vincent Street Port Adelaide), then was followed by a two and a half hour walking entourage via Ocean Steamers Road to the Cheltenham Cemetery. Literally "hundreds of people" lined the route with many actually joining in the procession to pay their respects to the hero fireman. To this day, it was one of the biggest funerals ever celebrated in Port Adelaide's history.

In latter years, the location of the ship's fire led to the naming of one of the main Port River shipping docks as "Tragedy Dock".


alicesg said...

Wow nice photo of the statue and great information. Never knew so much about it till now. Thanks for sharing.

babooshka said...

Tell Ray he did a good job woth the text. Very interesting again and great photo. I learn a little more each visit.

Marie said...

Thank you Gordon for your information on the City of Singapore I have been trying to find something on this disaster as the firemen mentioned, George Anderson, is my second cousin and I remember my Mother speaking of this event when I was younger M

Graham said...

No.2 Quay Port Adelaide was known locally as tragedy dock but it had got it's name before the City of Singapore tragedy. A builder was drowned as the dock was being constructed, a waterside worker was killed when a metal pipe fell on him and a seaman was decapitated when a cable snapped.