An outstanding memorial for 20 years

MEMORIAL: Diana Mislov, who lost her fiance in a fishing boat accident in 1984, at the memorial.
MEMORIAL: Diana Mislov, who lost her fiance in a fishing boat accident in 1984, at the memorial.
CEREMONY:The opening ceremony of the fishermen's memorial in 1994. Photograph: Mick Puglisi

CEREMONY:The opening ceremony of the fishermen's memorial in 1994. Photograph: Mick Puglisi

IT has been 20 years since the memorial to fishermen lost at sea was erected at the Port Lincoln Marina, but its importance to the community has not diminished.

The people instrumental in its establishment say the names etched into the stone will always be remembered.

Ross Haldane, who was part of the group of people establishing the memorial, said the motive was to give those left behind a place to mourn.

He said those lost at sea don't have gravestones, or have their name written anywhere, but a memorial provided a permanent place to remember those lost.

"Many Australians have relatives lost in battles or at sea, and society tends to erect monuments, which become places of permanent tribute."

Mick Puglisi, who was Spencer Gulf and West Coast Prawn Fishermen's Association president at the time, was instrumental in the memorial's establishment.

He said he lost very good friends to the sea, who deserved a place of remembrance along with the many others lost.

"The idea of the monument was to record the men that left home on fishing trips and never returned."

He said the fishing community was appreciative the memorial was erected.

"Their families are ever grateful that their loved ones have been remembered, their names set in stone in a prominent place at Lincoln Cove.

"It took a lot of hard work, many different people helped with donations and in-kind support."

The memorial was built from donated West Coast granite, by sculptor Marijan Bekic.

Mr Bekic said the memorial's design was influenced by people he met in Port Lincoln who had lost loved ones at sea.

He said he incorporated their feeling of endless waiting and hoping into the design.

The rocks onto which the names are carved are leaning, representing the ocean's waves, and reflecting the harshness of the fishing business.

Mr Bekic said he hoped the memorial would become more of a focus for the town, and be mentioned in tourist brochures and information more often.

It will be 30 years in 2014 since Diana Mislov lost her fiance Denis Longin when the boat he was fishing on, Alan, sunk off the coast of Portland.

His name, along with his father Vinko Longin and Andrew Halliday, is among the names etched into the granite at the memorial.

She said over the years she has visited the memorial and sought comfort there.

Ms Mislov said the sculptor did a "beautiful job" reflecting the anguish and grief felt by those left behind when someone they love was lost.

"It's an outstanding memorial, especially for the families of fishermen whose bodies weren't able to be retrieved, because there is nowhere to really go for them.

"It's a nice place to go back and reflect."

The bodies of the three fishermen who lost their lives on Alan were never found and Ms Mislov said she found that difficult to cope with.

Before Mr Longin was lost, Ms Mislov said she'd barely considered the possibility that something so tragic could happen to her or her family.

"When it happened, it was just like 'this can't be real'.

"When you see them off at the wharf, you think they're coming home.

"There was no sense of closure, you just think they're still out there at sea somewhere.

"That's why it's beautiful to have a memorial to visit, and remember them by."