Wasyl (Victor) Muran

Wasyl (Victor) Muran
Drowned at Sea; Body recovered
26 July 1978

Old photo from National Archives of Wasyl Muran

Wasyl (Victor) Muran survived several shipwrecks before losing his life

Old photo of Ewdokia Muran from National Archives.

Ewdokia Muran was married to Wasyl and had an 18 month old son, when they arrived in Fremantle.

Wasyl (Wasylie) Muran was born in Cholojiw, Poland on 15 April 1926, but was of Ukrainian Citizenship. He arrived in Australia in 1949, onboard the International Relief Organisation ship, Anna Salen, and is listed as a “displaced” person, having been resettled in a German and later Italian Camp.

His wife, Ewdokia (Eva), and 18-month son, Roman, accompanied him. They could speak Ukrainian-Polish, and a little German, but no English. Conditions at the Italian camp in Naples, and on the ship were reportedly quite poor, with an outbreak of Measles causing three children to die during the voyage, and another child to die when reaching Fremantle.

Wasyl was a locksmith by trade and had worked as a farmhand and a Police Man in a Displaced Persons camp. For a short period, even his son, was registered as a cray fisherman and he appears in the electoral roll of Pearce in the 1970s. Roman married Linda and he later moved to Padbury.

It is unclear how, or when, Muran started crayfishing. He actually survived a couple of “near misses” with the ocean.

In an article of 26 August 1966 – “Pounding seas swept, Freya, past Lancelin, and drove it on to a reef about four miles from shore. Strong winds whipped up mountainous waves that quickly broke the craft up. Victor Muran (40) and Norman Mundy (24) lashed themselves together with a length of rope before they were swept away, over reefs and through boiling surf, and eventually struggled ashore in the early hours of the morning. Then they walked two miles through sand hills to Lancelin."

The Canberra Times gave more detail on the incident – “Two fishermen swam five miles in four hours through mountainous seas to the shore south of Ledge Point, after their 22-foot open boat sank early on Saturday morning. The men had been reported missing on Friday morning when they failed to return to Lancelin after an overnight fishing trip. Before their boat sank, the men had drifted before 60-foot to 70-foot waves and a 50mph wind. Victor Muran (40) and Norman Munday (24) were swept past Lancelin and driven on to a reef about four miles offshore early Saturday morning. The tremendous seas smashed their boat to pieces and the two men were thrown into the sea. During their long swim to safety the men were lashed together and each wore two life jackets. Mr. Muran has twice before been shipwrecked in similar circumstances, and once had to swim 12 miles to safety.”

Muran’s fortunes with the powers of the ocean finally succumbed on the 26 July 1978. That day he was drowned off Lancelin when his boat was capsized after it was hit by a freak wave while he and his friend were crayfishing.

The other man, Christopher James Kramer (21) of Lancelin, survived by swimming about a kilometre to the beach. Muran is buried in the Karrakatta Cemetery in Nedlands.