The Joyce Memorial

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A monument commemorates seven workmen who perished when the Joyce sank.

In May 1948, a party of workmates from the Nielsen slipper factory (the 1907 built `old` Bayview Hotel) planned a weekend fishing trip. A 22 foot cabin launch “Joyce“, was borrowed from the father of one of the group. They left Ettalong anticipating a good catch. On Sunday 16th May a south-westerly gale blew up, which was described by fishermen as possibly the strongest in 10 years. On Monday morning of the 17th May it was reported that two launches with a total of 11 people were missing. Another launch Syd had left Patonga, and was last seen off West Head.

An extensive search involving RAAF Catalinas from Rathmines, and search and rescue vessels failed to find any trace of either the Joyce or the Syd. Eventually, all 7 men were believed drowned. A memorial to the victims of the Joyce disaster was eventually erected outside the Nielsen Slipper Factory in Railway Street. It is believed to have stood there up until the early 1960s. The memorial was moved to the Waterfront Reserve at Koolewong, where it was vandalised and neglected. Today, the restored monument stands at the entrance to Point Clare Cemetery. Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW), .

mem at ww

16 May 1949

GOSFORD, Sunday. A 12 foot high granite obelisk to the memory of the seven members of the 22-foot launch Joyce, which left Ettalong 12 months ago yesterday and has not been seen again, was unveiled this afternoon in the grounds where the men had worked in a slipper factory at Woy Woy. More than 500 relatives and friends of the men saw the unveiling by the Managing-Director (Mr. F. L. Neilsen), who contributed £1000 to the cost of the obelisk. On the same day 12 months ago the 16-foot launch, Sid, with three men and a youth on board, also vanished from Patonga, a few miles south.
17 May 1948

Two Launches,

11 People Missing

Two launches, containing fishing parties of 10 men and a boy, have been missing from Ettalong and Patonga since Saturday.

The police launch and other launches searched 40 miles of open sea and inlets to dusk last sight for the launches. The search will be resumed at dawn no-day. Planes and ships have been asked to keep watches.

A strong westerly wind blew all yesterday, and it is feared that if the engines broke down the craft may have been blown to sea.

A launch, with a fishing party of seven under the charge of Mr Norman Lester, Alpha-street, Woy Woy, is missing from Ettalong; the other, containing three men and a boy, from Upper Patonga, near Broken Bay.

Those missing from are.

Cecil Aubrey Murray, 43, of Carey Sreet, Marrickville.

Hugh Murray, 41, Belmore Street. Burwood.

Brian Murray, 14, same address.

Neville Harcourt Walters, 35, Pittwater-road, Manly.

Had Little Food The seven men in the launch missing from Woy Woy, a 22-foot raised deck, half-cabin type named Joyce. had food for only one meal. They left Woy Woy at 5.30 a.m. on Saturday. It is not known whether they intended to fish out side the Hawkesbury River Heads but they were seen in Jerusalem Bay in the river, on Saturday afternoon. The other launch, the Syd, a 16 root half-cabin type, is claimed by its owner to be unsinkable. It was seen near the Flint and Steel, a rocky reel running ont to sea from he north entrance to Palm Beach. about 12.30 p.m. on Saturday. An other local resident claims to have seen it about 4 p.m. There was plenty of petrol on board, but the party had only a small quantity of food.

Wants Plane Search Mr. T. J. Smith. from whom the Patonga boat was hired, said last night that it was imperative that an air search be launched at dawn to-day. He subscribed to the view of expert fishermen at Patonga that the launches might be 40 to 45 miles off the coast, making it necessary for planes to take part in the search.

Before Lester and his party left Ettalong in the Joyce. he was asked by the boatshed proprietor when he would return. Lester replied, “Expect us when you see us.”

slippper factory

A number of launches searched between Cowan Waters and Woy Woy yesterday, without success.

The Sydney Harbour pilot steamer Captain Cook stood by throughout the night to go to the rescue

if news of either vessel was reported.

body copy pic

18 May 1948

Air, Sea Launch Search Fails

An extensive search by flying-boat and launches was made without success for nearly

10 hours yesterday for the launches, Syd and Joyce, which have been missing from Patonga and Ettalong since Saturday.

A Catalina flying boat set out from Rathmines Base at 7 a.m. yesterday to search the coast from Palm Beach north. The plane also made an ocean sweep covering hundreds of miles without success. It returned to base about 5.30 p.m. Launches from Sydney and Ettalong also searched at sea and along the coast. A sharp lookout was kept from shore by lighthouse keepers and police.

Two Catalenas will continue the search to-day. Ten men and a 14-year old boy are in the launches.

street signs

Those in the Joyce are:-

Norman Eric Lester, 21, .single, Apha road. Woy Woy.

Brian Morris Parsons, 56, AlField road, Woy Woy.

Robert Hayes, 30, single, Broken Bay-road. Ettalong.:

Peter Broadfoot, 24, married, Ettalong.

Berty Cyril Law, 37, married Wallaby-street, Blackwall.

Norman John Tolley, 25, married, South-street, Ocean Beach.

Arthur Bowyer, 41, married, Alpha-road, Woy Woy.

list o names

Lighthouses and ships have been told to keep sharp lookouts for the lauches. The police in Newcastle have asked out stations in the south and north coastal areas to report immediately if they see the launches.


20 May 1949

‘Joyce’ Launch Victims Are Remembered

A monument was unveiled in the grounds of the C. P. and R. Nielsen Slipper Factory, Woy Woy. on Sunday and dedicated to the memory of seven employees of the firm who were lost on the launch Joyce twelve months ago.

The launch Joyce left Ettalong on Saturday, May 15, 1948, and no trace was found of her or her seven occupants after an extensive air and sea search for more than a fortnight.

The managing director of the firm (Mi- S. L. Nielsen) unveiled the monument after a service by the Rev R. W. L. Ayscough, of Woy Woy.

The Minister for Building Materials (Mr W. E. Dickson) was a guest at the function.