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Photographs supplied by Peter Williams

The Don Ritchie Grove was established to commemorate Donald Taylor "Don" Ritchie, O.A.M. (1926  - 2012) who officially rescued 160 people from suicide at the Gap in Sydney, an area which is known for its multiple suicide attempts. The grove is bordered by a low set structured wall which contains a quote from Don Ritchie. 

He officially rescued 160 people from suicide as of 2009 over a 45-year period, although his family claims the number is closer to 400. Ritchie resided next to The Gap. In 2006, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his rescues, the official citation being for "service to the community through programs to prevent suicide." Ritchie and his wife Moya were also named "Citizens of the Year" for 2010 by Woollahra Council, the local government authority responsible for The Gap. He received the Local Hero Award for Australia in 2011, the National Australia Day Council saying: "His kind words and invitations into his home in times of trouble have made an enormous difference ... With such simple actions, Don has saved an extraordinary number of lives."

A pocket of tranquillity has been set aside in Watsons Bay in memory of the Angel of the Gap, Don Ritchie. The Don Ritchie Grove was opened on Friday in memory of the man who saved hundreds of lives simply by talking to troubled souls contemplating suicide metres from his home.

Don died last year at the age of 85, after 50 years helping people at the Watsons Bay's cliff face. Don's wife Moya and daughters Donna and Sue remembered a man who grew to become a mental health advocate. "As well as being a tribute to Don, this is a place where people might find the courage and strength to go on and continue with life," Mrs Ritchie said, holding back tears as she remembered her husband.

As part of the self-harm minimisation measures, Gap Park now has nine cameras, emergency phones and new fences.
Wentworth Courier, June 20 2013. 


Address:Old South Head Road, Gap Park , Watsons Bay, 2030
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.846546
Long: 151.28635
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Trees
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 14th June, 2013
Front Inscription

Don Ritchie Grove

" Always remember the power of the simple smile, a helping hand, a listening ear, and a kind word." 
- Don Ritchie (9. 06. 1926 - 13 .05. 2012) 

Plaque :
Woollahra Municipal Council

For almost 50 years Gap Park was watched over by a guardian angel in the form of Vaucluse resident, Don Ritchie OAM, whose kindness and compassion helped save the lives of hundreds of Australians. 

Mr Ritchie was awarded Australian of the Year Local Hero 2011. His legacy lives on through those who went on to lead full and happy lives as a direct result of his intervention over five decades.

Don's actions demonstrated that there is always hope. If you are distressed or struggling with depression, Don would want you to know that there are people, even complete strangers like him, who want to help you through your difficult time and on to happier times, so please contact Lifeline 13 11 44.

They care and are there to listen 24/7. 


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au