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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".

Published: 13 January 2019


Forgotten Territory was a weekly photo column of historic images in the Northern Territory News which I curated from 2016 until 2019 supported by the collections of the Northern Territory Library and other cultural institutions around Australia, as well as local history Facebook groups. 

Click on the images to read the story behind the image.

Warning: May contain images of people who have died.

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