Vale Maryrose Heffernan

Vale provided by CYCA Member Di Pearson

It is with great sadness that I write of the death of my close friend, Maryrose Heffernan, who passed away peacefully in her sleep on the weekend. She was 63.

Maryrose arrived in Australia in the early eighties from her native New Zealand with her friend, Kaye Milne.  Looking to meet new people, they were told the Club was a good place to start.

They found their way to Rushcutters Bay, enjoyed the social and water activities the Club provided, and became liaison officers for visiting yachts in the Sydney Hobart for the next few years. They also volunteered at fundraisers for the Admiral’s Cup and other functions. In the process, Maryrose and Kaye made lifelong friends and became well-known to Members.

Maryrose met her husband David Graham at the Club one December during the late eighties. Pointing him out to me, she said, “come and meet the man I’m going to marry”. The introduction was made to an unsuspecting David, a naval officer who was navigating Alexander of Creswell to Hobart that year. He returned to Sydney and they went on to marry.

Due to David’s job, the two moved to Victoria for a time, returning in late 1994. David was itching to do the 50th Sydney Hobart and was fortunate to join Ray Roberts’ crew on Impetuous. Sadly, on the return delivery to Sydney in early January 1995, David was coming up on watch in the very early hours of the morning and was swept overboard by a rogue wave. He was never found.

Following David’s tragic death, Maryrose wanted to stay connected with the sailing fraternity. She had done the odd offshore and Harbour races with me, but did not find it particularly appealing. I suggested she join the start boat team, which she did in 1995, and there she stayed up until her untimely death.

Through the years, she really enjoyed being aboard the boat with Dick Grubb, Denise Van, fellow Kiwi Denis Thompson, Steve Kidson and others. After racing, there was always a lot of banter over a couple of drinks on the start boat Offshore. They were a tight-knit team and I enjoyed joining them on occasions.

Anyone who knew Maryrose well knows she called a spade a shovel – a big shovel. She was smart, straightforward, opinionated, spirited, stubborn, a hell of a lot of fun to be around and a very loyal friend.

Maryrose was not one for fuss. When we’d have ‘those’ discussions, she made it clear she did not want a funeral, but did want her ashes scattered at sea with friends around her. As usual, she will get her way.


Maryrose will be farewelled at RANSA, New Beach Rd, Rushcutters Bay, at 3pm on Thursday 27 June

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