Welcome my friends,
On behalf of the families of the late Mr. Henry Gibson Dan ‘Seaman Dan’, this is the official release of the memorial and funeral services & times. Thank you all for your understanding and respect during this time. Please share this information, as the families give our approval for this to be shared.
Download the Cairns Funeral Program PDF here: Cairns Program Final
Download the Thursday Island Funeral Program PDF here: Thursday Island Final
The funeral for Uncle Seaman will be held this Friday at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Thursday Island on the 15th of January 2021. The viewing will commence at 8:00am, followed by a funeral service at 9:00am.
There will be a special memorial service and viewing to be held in Cairns this Wednesday for those who cannot attend the funeral and wish to pay their last respects to Uncle Seaman. This will be held at the Cairns Funeral Directors Chapel, 36 Pease Street, Manunda, on Wednesday the 13th of January 2021. The viewing will commence at 10:30am, followed by a church service at 11:00am.
For any media enquiries, please contact myself Patrick Mau at firstname.lastname@example.org
Seaman Dan was my grandfather, which is why I share this information with you. I would like to share a portion of the eulogy, which can found in full in the program services above.
The late Henry Gibson Dan better known as ‘Seaman Dan’, Uncle Seaman, Pops, Dato, was born on the 25th of August 1929, on Thursday Island. His birth mother was Kitty Savage, later Kitty Ware, his birth name was Henry Savage. Later he was adopted by Catharine Jaira and Henry Maynard Dan and took on the family name of Dan.
For most of his life he was known by the nickname “Seaman”. As a young boy he grew up on Thursday Island in the 1930s, a time where the maritime industry was thriving. This became a huge influence on his life and would later be the inspiration for his music and stories.
During his young adult years, he met and married Clare Constance (née Dorante) in 1958, but later divorced in 1979. They had five children Conchetta Mau, Henry Dan (Deceased), Simon Dan (Deceased), William Dan and Elivianna Dorante (Later Adopted to his in-laws). Uncle Seaman always said he was blessed to live a life where he would be here to see his grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren come into this world.
He was affectionally know to all the children as Pops, not only to his immediate family, but to everyone in the community. The young boy who would become Seaman Dan first started making music when his parents bought him a guitar and a man called Val McGuiness taught him a few chords. He has been playing and singing for family and friends since the age of 15. As the entertainer, he loved to play the guitar and sing to all the children at parties and family gatherings. Most would remember the first songs they learnt such as “Pearly Shells” and “Old T.I.”
He had many famous local sayings that were popular with the kids. Some of his favourite sayings were: After blessing food, he would say “2,4,6,8 – bog in don’t wait”. When we would travel, he would say “Let’s get to where we ain’t” and “Safe journey my family”. When he would hop into the car, boat or plane, he would say – “On deck”. And of course, his most famous saying “Steady, Steady”.
In 1947 Seaman returned to Thursday Island where he had the opportunity to start his professional sea-going career in the pearling and trochus industry under his uncle Thomas Savage. It was around this time he acquired his lifelong nickname, ‘Seaman’ Dan. His diving career was extensive, this became the foundation of his musical legacy and from where his songs and stories drew inspiration.
Music is what Seaman Dan is widely known for; it was his love and passion. He made so many people smile while he serenaded them with his smooth crooning voice. His illustrious career as a professional musician began the day he met Dr. Karl Neuenfeldt at the Radio 4MW station on Thursday Island. It was on January 15, 1999 – almost 22 years to this day. This was a very special moment for Seaman Dan and was one of his favourite stories to tell. He was proud to be able to start a music career at the ripe young age of 70 years old. He would always say, “You are never too old to live your dreams”.
His journey in life was a testament to this. In 2019 he received the Grant McLennan Lifetime Achievement Award from the Queensland Music Awards. Other career accolades include becoming the oldest person to win an ARIA award in 2004, being nominated for an ARIA again as an 87 year-old, winning the Red Ochre Award in 2005 and entering the National Indigenous Music Awards Hall of Fame in 2013.We invite you to re-live his music by listening to his collection of work on Spotify.
Since that day he has travelled Queensland, Australia and the world sharing his music, stories and culture. He recorded 10 albums, won multiple awards and was honoured and recognised for his contribution to Torres Strait Islander and Torres Strait culture and music. On the 30th of December 2020, Uncle Seaman was called to set his sail for his final journey home on the heavenly oceans and to finally lay his pearling helmet to rest.
So, with heavy hearts we say farewell old friend, your life was one of adventure and so full of life and stories. We know that you are serenading the heavens with your smooth crooning voice. Even though you are on your next journey, we will forever hear you in your music, and always remember your most famous local saying – Steady, Steady.
The families of Uncle Seaman would like to thank everyone for their support and respecting our privacy during this time of grief.
Conchetta Mau & Patrick Mau