2014 will be an historical day for our community in Newcastle NSW. On 19th August 1949, the migrant ship “Fairsea” steamed into the harbour. The “Fairsea” had left Naples, Italy 28 days earlier and had 1900 European passengers on board.
Many of these were Ukrainians who were fleeing from the traumas of World War II. They needed a new home and a new start. Soon the passengers were taken to Army barracks in Greta which is nearby. That ship that day changed the face of the Hunter Valley and Australia for ever. It was the beginning of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Australia as well. This immigrate settled locally and further afield. In Greta a small church and hall appeared. A little later a hall was built in Adamstown. This also served as a church for about 20 years. In 2014 the parish will celebrate 45 years of the building of the church as well as 65 years of arrival of the ship “Fairsea”.
There are many plans for the parish. The first is to invite Patriarch Sviatoslav to come and celebrate with them. They are planning to restore the grave site of the only priest buried in Newcastle – Fr. Volodymyr Krayevsky C.Ss.R. who passed away in 1978.
They plan to photograph their beautiful church which has the exquisite wood carvings of Mr Osyp Tarnawskyj and the icon work of Myron Levytsky. There are plans for a book about the church and a feature in the Eparchy calendar in the future.
Parishioners from across Australia, especially those who were on the ship or are ancestors of these migrants, might want to come to the celebrations.
There is going to be a lot of organizational work in Newcastle this coming year.