Sydney Bethel Union

The Sydney Bethel Union, being a registered charity founded in 1822, is the largest single contributor of funds to the Mission to Seafarers in the ports of New South Wales.

Trustee: Sydney Bethel Union Pty Ltd

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Sydney Bethel Union:

To provide significant and sustainable financial support to the Missions to Seafarers in the ports of Sydney, Newcastle, Port Kembla and Eden for the ongoing spiritual and physical welfare of seafarers of all nationalities and creeds visiting these ports.


Supporting Missions' to Seafarers in NSW

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Rev. Canon Garry Dodd MTS Newcastle with visiting seafarers.

MTS Covid vaccination programme

MTS Sydney Covid vaccination programme

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MTS Covid vaccination programme

Ruby Princess says thank you to Port Kembla and Illawarra

Care Packages for Ruby Princess


What We Do

The Sydney Bethel Union, being a Not-For-Profit Organisation, fulfills it purpose by providing significant financial support to the Missions’ to Seafarers as they go about their valuable work in supporting seafarers that visit NSW ports. Prior to the pandemic, this involved visiting cargo vessels, having a presence on the wharf to assist the crews of Cruise vessels, transporting crews to and from their Mission. At the Missions , recreation, relaxation and Wi Fi facilities are provided, goods can be purchased, and importantly a forum is available to address any problems a seafarer may be experiencing. 

The NSW Department of Health regulations to combat the pandemic imposed severe hardships on seafarers visiting NSW ports as they were denied shore leave ,were not able to travel home having  spent many months on Board after the normal expiry of their contracts and vaccinations were few and far between. Mental health problems were significant. The Missions rose to the challenges by delivering food parcels to the bottom of vessels gangways including  delivering goods pre-ordered by crews and assisting with crew vaccinations where they could. In some cases with Personal Protection Equipment , they were able to go onboard vessels.

In addition, given the historical background in owning buildings occupied by the Sydney Mission to Seafarers, the SBU has purchased a long-term lease for the Mission’s current premises and assists with the maintenance required of landlords. Working closely with financial advisors, the SBU Directors ensure that the ongoing financial support is sustainable for the future by effectively and prudently managing the capital base of the Foundation. Close and regular contact is maintained with the Missions in NSW.

The SBU acknowledges the Gadigal and Bidjigal people of the Eora nation who are the traditional owners of the land on which MTS Sydney is located.


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Ruby Princess departing Port Kembla
Ruby Princess departing Port Kembla

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MTS Newcastle ship visiting team
MTS Newcastle ship visiting team

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Sydney Bethel Union - History and Milestones

The Sydney Bethel Union is a public charitable organisation established in 1822, formalised in 1851 by an Act of the Parliament of NSW and known as the Sydney Bethel Union Trustees’ Act, to provide for the welfare of Seafarers of all nationalities visiting the Ports of NSW.

History of the Sydney Bethel Union

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Sydney Bethel Union Historical Milestones

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State Government legislative backing for the Sydney Bethel Union

A brief description of the original State Government legislation and subsequent amendments that still govern the overall operation of the SBU can be found in the link below

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Links to other websites

The Missions to Seafarers rely on volunteers and appreciate their selfless service and also seek financial donations to support their work.

The Australian Mariners’ Welfare Society is a membership based charitable
organisation that , amongst other functions, provides financial grants to MtS and Apostleship of the Seas missions around Australia upon application to assist with operating costs, scholarships for those that meet certain criteria undertaking maritime courses and limited accommodation for ex-seafarers.


Sydney Bethel Union, 2022

Prior to the Sydney Bethel Union Amendment Act, 2018, there were four Trustees responsible for managing the Trust under the terms of the relevant State legislation including the Trustees Act, 1925. The 2018 amendment replaced individual trustees with a corporate trustee, Sydney Bethel Union Pty Ltd. The four incumbent trustees became directors of the trustee company. Additional directors have subsequently been appointed and two of the former trustees have retired.  

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