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Iconic bell from 'Mum Shirl'-named tug gifted to family after 40 years of service

[supplied by Port Authority NSW]


Left: Port Authority of NSW COO John Finch, Ann Weldon, Shirley Tutudua, Yvonne Weldon. Right: The iconic Shirley Smith Tug on Sydney Harbour. Images supplied

Port Authority of NSW presented the large brass bell from the retired Shirley Smith Tug to family members in a small ceremony held at Moores Wharf Walsh Bay where the tug was homeported for almost four decades.  


Port Authority’s Chief Operating Officer, John Finch presented the bell to the great niece of Shirley Smith, Yvonne Weldon AM, and shared how proud Port Authority had been to have a working vessel on the Harbour named after the iconic Wiradjuri woman, social worker and humanitarian, who was best known as Mum Shirl.  


“Port Authority is deeply grateful to the family of Shirley Smith for the honour of naming this industrious tug after her 37 years ago,” Mr Finch said.  


“Shirley Smith was a remarkable figure. Her dedication to the welfare of and tireless advocacy for Aboriginal communities stands as testament to her enduring legacy. 


“It also served as an ongoing inspiration to our operations team who work tirelessly 24/7, 365 days of the year as part of Sydney’s working harbour. 


“After almost four decades of steadfast service, the Shirley Smith Tug has been retired and as a token of respect, Port Authority returned the brass bell to the family of Shirley Smith to symbolise the connection between the vessel and her story.” 


Yvonne Weldon AM said she remembered the launch of the Shirley Smith Tug in 1987 with her great aunt by her side.  


“The tug was only little compared to who she was and the legacy she left. Aunty Shirl was forever making sure people were okay. In this sense, the naming of the tug after her was a fitting tribute."



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