Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

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Saxon Onward.

'Saxon Onward' (Image courtesy of the Saxon Family).

Bell of the trawler 'Saxon Onward'

Bell of the trawler 'Saxon Onward'

William Nicholls generously donated this bell from the North Sea side trawler 'Saxon Onward' to the School in 1987 after he heard about the ‘disappearance’ of the Otago Bell. The donated was installed at the School Chapel.

The 'Saxon Onward', overall length 34.85 metres, was built in 1960 by J. S. Doig Ltd of Grimsby for Alfred Bannister & Co. She was brought to Australia in 1976, and after several changes of ownership, the vessel was acquired by the Nicholls Family in 1983 and afterwards employed in the South East Australian trawl fishery. The vessel was still operating out of Hobart in 2008.

‘Will’ Nicholls was the owner and operator of the 'Saxon Onward'. He first started fishing in the 1960s in Spencer Gulf and out of Port Lincoln before studying deep-sea fishing technology at St Johns, Newfoundland during the 1970s. He brought this knowledge back to Australia and pioneered the deep-sea trawl fisheries off the west coast of Tasmania and in the Great Australian Bight. Tragically, ‘Will’ was killed in an accident at sea in 2000. His children Saxon; Olivia; Angus and Hannah, all attended the College.

Notably, the year the bell was donated was also the year that the 'Saxon Onward' rescued the seven crew members of the 'FV Vesna Star' before that vessel sank off King Island.

Sources: Saxon Family; Image - Saxon Onward Saxon Family.
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