This week in 1912, a young woman in Darwin became a hero. Originally from Borroloola, Cissy McLeod was fostered as a child by Captain Frederick Mugg and his wife Mary. On a dark January evening, they were farewelling a friend on board the SS Guthrie when Mary fell off a jetty into the strong currents of Darwin Harbour. Aged just 13, Cissy jumped in the water, keeping Mary afloat until help came. Word of her bravery spread throughout Australia and a year later, in front of a crowd at Palmerston Town Hall (pictured), she was awarded a bronze medal from the Royal Humane Society. At the ceremony it was stated that "it was no light thing for this child without a moment's hesitation ... to leap down into a sea known to be alive with sharks and alligators, to help one she loved".
Image: Jean A. Austin Collection, Northern Territory Library
Published: 13 January 2019