Fair Winds and Following Seas

By: Craig Murphy
Monday, April 22, 2019

There are so many ways to commemorate a life.

I don’t think there ever has or ever will be a request that we won’t try to fulfil for a family. Some are relatively simple, others not so much, but all of them are immensely important to that family.

Last week, I had the privilege of helping a family fulfil their father’s last wish, to have his ashes scattered in the sea at the site of the sinking of the HMAS Voyager.

This site is particularly important to many people in the Shoalhaven.  It is the site of a Naval tragedy that would affect many hundreds of sailors and their families.

On the evening of the 10th of February 1964, two warships, the Aircraft Carrier HMAS Melbourne and the Destroyer HMAS Voyager were partaking in fleet manoeuvres and training exercises off the Shoalhaven coastline. Disastrously and mistakenly, the Voyager crossed the bow of the Melbourne and was struck. The impact damaged the Voyager so significantly that she sank within hours, sadly with 84 fine young Australian sailors still on board.

The impact on those that survived was profound and significant. Many men still carry the scars to this day.

So, when we were approached by the family of one such sailor who was a survivor of this disaster to return his ashes to the sea with his fellow shipmates, we were keen to see this wish fulfilled.

It was a beautiful autumnal day as we left Greenwell Point and the Crookhaven River to make our way to the site where the Voyager lies undisturbed in over 2000metres of water. Glenn sat upstairs and chatted as we made our way to sea with the ashes of his father. We saw sea birds, dolphins, whales, and tuna on our 30 odd nautical mile ride to the site.

When we arrived, we pulled the throttles back on the boat and drifted. There was a lone Albatross skirting around the oily calm sea. Glenn said a few very heartfelt and caring words as he gently scattered his father’s ashes into the sea. He also left two red roses, to represent the love of his wife and children, and a photo of Dad, smiling, just like I remember him too. He was a good man, he deserved to have his last request met.

On our way home, we again saw whales, had dolphins playing under the bow of the boat, and also snuck a couple of lures out to see if we could possibly snag one of the tunas we saw earlier in the day. No luck on that front.

As Glenn departed the boat, we hugged, he thanked Lily (my daughter) and I for fulfilling this wish. Really, we should have thanked Glenn and his family for the privilege in allowing us to be involved in such a moment.

Fair Winds and Following Seas


Leave a comment


Please wait

Previous Posts


Preserving Flowers from a Funeral Service. A funeral service is a significant life event, not unlike a wedding…… I visited a family home just last week to make the funeral arrangements for a woma...

Alternative Venue Choices

I have been involved in funeral services here at Murphy’s for 30 odd years. It is an interesting discussion to have, and to reflect upon the way these funeral services have changed over the years....


Music is such an emotive component of a funeral service.  It has the power to take us back to memories and times of the past.   With my own family, I have distinct recollections of ...

Covid-19 and Funerals

COVID – 19 Having to arrange a funeral for one of our family members is the toughest of times for us all.  Compounding these pressures right now is the new rules around social distancing...

My Lesson

  So, it's a funny thing to have to change my hats from being the funeral director for other families at need to potentially having my business look after my own funeral service. Sadly, this...

Anzac Day Reflection

  ANZAC Day Yesterday was the 103rd Anniversary of the Allied forces landing on the beach at ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli, Turkey. An important date for so many in our country, and for so many peopl...

What to Bring

Important Information to bring to your funeral director As a Funeral Director, I am often asked about the ‘things’ that are needed when someone passes away.  And while each individual and the...