Jack Cowie's memorial plaque in Tathra gets cleaned up

Almost 50 years ago, a fisherman was swept off rocks near Kianinny Bay close to the same spot that a Canberra man died last month.

In the recent incident on January 21, the 54-year-old was fishing when he was dragged into the water by dangerous seas along with four others and was unable to be revived. 

Around the corner from where he was swept away there is a memorial plaque that reads: “As a warning to others, in loving memory of my dear husband Jack Cowie who was swept from this rock whilst fishing on 23 May 1967, aged 44 years”. 

A report published by the Bega District News at the time states the Dubbo man was swept into the sea while fishing with his eight-year-old daughter Barbara, who was pushed into a rock pool by the same wave.

Barbara ran for help and a rescue effort began that included a search by air, but the rough seas made the operation difficult. As of May 26 that year, Cowie’s body had not been found. 

The granite memorial has been covered in paint which has begun to peel, making it hard to read. But a former Tathra local has decided to clean it up and make it easier for visitors to find on the lonely, out-of-the-way rocks. 

In 1973 John Dansie bought land in Tathra. He heard the story about Cowie being washed off the rocks near where he lived and about 20 years ago found the plaque.

Recently, when he learnt the Canberra man had also been swept away near the spot, he thought he would go visit the plaque again, but could not remember exactly where it was.

He eventually found it in a sorry state, so decided to clean it up with a scrub and a touch of paint around the edges.

“It was a coincidence, as it was almost 50 years to the day,” he said on Tuesday.

“I found it again because it was a bit of an obsession to re-locate it after all these years.”

To visit the memorial, go to Bay St in Tathra, walk down the path where the three poles are, turn left at the t-intersection then right where white paint is on trees and follow the white dots across the rocks. 

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