It can be a sad thing when ships come to the end of their working lives.
Most vessels disappear to the breaking yards without too much fuss, but occasionally a ship touches the public heart and the decision to retire her touches a nerve.
So it is with the Australian Antarctic Division's icebreaker, the RSV Aurora Australis, named after the Southern Lights, but nicknamed The Orange Roughy - after the fish variety - because of her colour.
It's the end of an era that touches three communities closely: Australia's Antarctic stations, Mawson, Davis and Casey; Hobart, her home port, and Newcastle, where construction began in 1988 at Tomago's Carrington Slipways, and where she was sitting in Newcastle harbour's floating dock before sea trials when the city's famous earthquake hit in 1989.
Aurora Australis finished her final voyage in March, having sailed some 150 trips and carried thousands of "expeditioners" since she was commissioned in May 1990.
The Aurora Australis is not just an icebreaker . . . she is a home, refuge, rescuer, messenger, lifeline, packhorse, laboratory, ferry and, overwhelmingly, an adventureSarah Laverick - Through Ice and Fire
It had been thought she would be sold for use elsewhere, but her owner, shipping company P&O, found itself in controversy this week after word emerged the vessel was likely to be scrapped.
A group of enthusiasts formed the Aurora Australis Foundation in an effort to get hold of the vessel and to convert it into a floating Antarctic museum, but P&O reportedly wants $US1 million ($1.4 million) - the ship's value as scrap - to hand her over, a stance that has angered the powerful Maritime Union of Australia.
The union is demanding the federal government buy the ship and convert it into an emergency response and relief vessel.
The MUA says such a move, which it believes would cost less than $10 million, would also make sense because the vessel's $1 billion replacement, the RSV Nuyina ("southern lights" in the Tasmanian Aboriginal language, palawa kani), has been delayed.
Nuyina is being built at the Damen shipyards on the River Danube at Galati, Romania, about 150 km inland from the Black Sea.
The Australian Antarctic Division says construction began in May 2017 and that she was due for completion at the end of last year.
In April, the division blamed the delays on coronavirus because specialist teams were unable to reach the shipyard.
While delays in shipping construction are nothing new - Aurora Australis had its share of problems during construction - the division has leased another vessel MPV Everest, to do at least 90 days over the coming Antarctic summer until Nuyina arrives.
News of the delay - and of Australia's resorting to a European shipyard in the first place - brings a wry smile to the face of one man who knows the old ship well, 87-year-old Don Laverick, who with his late brother John ran the family's Carrington Slipways shipyard at Tomago.
The business had started at Carrington, and kept the name even after the focus had moved to the new yard, carved out of mangrove flats and two farming properties and visible a few hundred metres downstream from the Hexham Bridge.
Carrington Slipways was a major piece of Newcastle's post-World War II industrial landscape.
Aurora Australis was the second-last ship through the yard, and the last before the Laverick family lost control of the business after the Commonwealth Bank put it into receivership over an outstanding loan.
The final ship was the Australian National Line's Searoad Tamar.
It was finished when the receivers were running the yard, which they sold in 1992 to Australian Submarine Corporation.
In turn, ASC sold Tomago for $5 million in 1997 to Stephen Forgacs, who had a big maritime and engineering operation in Newcastle.
He died in 2012, and a year later the company, then controlled by his children, was considering bidding for the contract that became the Nuyina.
The Forgacs group was sold to Western Australia's shipbuilding and engineering group Civmec in 2015, which has been using Tomago as an engineering workshop, rather than for shipbuilding.
Aurora Australis has also played a major role in the life of a Jervis Bay girl, Sarah Robinson, whose dreams of being a marine biologist led her to university, and then a posting in 2003 for the first of an eventual four tours of duty on the famous ship.
On her second tour in 2006, Sarah met the man who would become her husband, Andrew, who had been a cadet on the vessel and was now one of its officers.
His surname just happened to be Laverick, a grandson of Don Laverick, who we met earlier.
In 2014, with a young family of their own, Sarah and Andrew Laverick moved to Raworth, near Morpeth.
In January 2015, Sarah, knowing her family was was "uniquely and intrinsically tied to the iconic ship", began a study of its history that would become Through Ice and Fire, a 368-page paperback published in August last year by Pan Macmillan.
ANOTHER ANTARCTIC TALE:
"Like any intrepid exporer, the Aurora Australis overcame considerable ordeals during her Antarctic exploits," Sarah writes in the book.
"She endured a problem-plagued construction, as well as repeated disasters including two devastating fires, a crippling besetment in ice and a blizzard-induced grounding in Antarctica.
She bravely rescued stricken ships and souls from icy imprisonments, and heroically provided emergency care to those in need.
In the face of howling blizzards and raging seas, the Aurora Australis always triumphed over adversity; even when the odds seemed insurmountably stacked against her."
Describing her first glimpse of Antarctica in 2003, Sarah said she was "instantly in wonder of the exquisite polar landscape".
"Every hulking iceberg, every ice-framed sunset, every awkward penguin was mercilessly stalked and photographed," she wrote.
Retired and living in Raymond Terrace with his wife Maureen, Don Laverick looks back on the years either side of the Aurora Australis build with bittersweet memories.
Thirty years on, Don still rankles at what happened to Carrington Slipways, and how Newcastle lost the shipbuilding capability it had fostered from colonial days.
He recalls his father, John "Jack" Laverick", going into business at Carrington in the 1950s with another Newcastle maritime identity, the late Bert Lovett, before the Lavericks set out on their own, and expanding to Tomago.
The yard was extremely successful and the company that began making wooden boats progressed through to river ferries and trawlers and on to another Carrington Slipways icon, the HMAS Tobruk, which was "slipped" into the water in 1979 and christened the following March.
In 15 years during the mineral and oil boom of the 1970s and 1980s Carrington Slipways built 55 tugs and 26 oil-rig supply ships . . . HMAS Tobruk . . nine Sydney Harbour catamaran-hulled ferries and the Narrabeen and Collaroy Manly ferriesSarah Laverick - Through Ice and Fire
"It did 35 years, the longest-serving ship in the Navy when the average was 25," Don said on Thursday.
In 1986, the Hawke government called tenders for 12 Anzac-class destroyers.
Two consortia were shortlisted but Australian Warship Systems, based at Tomago, lost to Victoria's Williamstown dockyard when the contract was announced in 1989.
Don says the cost of the bid was a major factor in the company's demise.
A shipyard that would employ 1000 people at its peak never recovered.
Soon afterwards, Don went to Fiji for five years to oversee the construction of a vessel, before coming back to Australia and working in a management role at Garden Island before a reshuffle resulted in redundancy and retirement.
Losing the shipyard was a setback, but tragedy hit the Laverick family on October 2, 1994, when a Williamtown flight to Lord Howe Island crashed at sea, killing all nine on board, including John and Margaret Laverick's only daughter, Leeca, on her honeymoon with husband Anthony Atkinson.
John, who died in 2016, told an inquiry he had booked the couple onto the plane to save them an early morning dash to Sydney after their wedding.
"He was never the same after that," Don said of his late brother. "He blamed himself."
With so much history behind her, the retirement of Aurora Australis marks a key moment in our national maritime history.
Conversion to a supply ship or a national museum would give her a new lease of life, but even if she is destined for one of the Third World's giant shipping scrapyards, she will not be forgotten.