High-achieving university student Annika Ferry, 21, tragically lost her life when part of a concrete bunker she was reportedly hanging on collapsed on top of her
Family and friends have laid to rest a talented, ‘funny and goofy’ student who tragically died when a WWII bunker collapsed on top of her at a well-known scenic spot.
Annika Ferry, 21, died on June 24 when part of the concrete bunker she was hanging on broke off and collapsed on top of her at North Head on Sydney’s Northern Beaches while on a sunrise walk.
In front of a 70-strong congregation at Manly Life Church in Fairlight on Monday, her father Dr Jim Ferry said his daughter ‘Anni’ – who was studying engineering at university – touched everyone she met and was not easily forgotten.
‘Thank you for scoring all the goals,’ he said as he told those gathered at the funeral about his daughter’s commendable ATAR and sporting prowess.
The student’s mother Helen added her daughter ‘loved life and life loved her back’.
Pictured: A memorial for Ms Ferry – adorned with flowers and photo tributes from well-wishers. Her father Dr Jim Ferry said his daughter ‘Anni’ – who was studying engineering at university – touched everyone she met and was not easily forgotten
Ms Ferry (pictured) in a photo shared by her friend Bec Bennett. Ms Ferry ‘loved life and life loved her back’, her mother Helen said at a memorial service for her on Monday
‘She was commander and captain without the stripes. She was an exceptional human being,’ she said according to the Manly Daily.
The young student will be laid to rest at Frenchs Forest Bushland Cemetery at the far western edge of the Northern Beaches.
Ms Ferry’s family who spoke at the funeral – which included her brothers Anton and Christian – also told of the young woman’s commitment to veganism and her interest in environmental conservation.
The friend who was with her during the heartbreaking events of two weeks ago, Bec Bennett, 21, also read out a speech to Ms Ferry.
She had planned to read it to her birthday party in January, but forgot to take with her.
‘I’m so grateful for our friendship. You’re such a brilliant, talented, ambitious young lady,’ she said.
‘I’m so excited to see the undoubtedly spectacular things you will conquer in the years to come.’
The emotional speech follows Ms Bennett making the same fateful trek she and Ms Ferry had made seven days prior – intent on enjoying the sunrise, just as they had planned.
Ms Bennett last week returned to the scene of her tragic death one week on. The 21-year-old posted this video online of her looking at the sunrise over the ocean
Ms Ferry (left) and Ms Bennett (right) had trekked to the popular selfie spot when the incident occurred. The 21-year-olds were outdoor lovers and regularly ventured to remote parts of New South Wales
Undeterred by the temporary fence around the WWII bunker, Ms Bennett and friends climbed into the area at North Head to lay flowers.
Ms Bennett – a star athlete who has represented Australia – blew bubbles and smiled as she looked out over the ocean.
Metres in front of her, others sat and watched the sun as it rose out of the ocean.
There are several World War II bunkers located along Sydney’s north head, designed to protect from a potential Japanese invasion
A week earlier Ms Ferry had playfully hung from the concrete roof of the bunker and posed for photos when it gave way.
Police are investigating whether she died as a result of the fall, or the impact of the WWII structure collapsing on top of her.
With her family desperate for answers, the tragedy has now been handed over to the NSW state coroner.
Undeterred by the temporary fence around the WWII bunker, Ms Bennett and friends climbed into the area at North Head to lay flowers
While investigations continue, the local Northern Beaches Council has fenced off the bunkers, which are a popular spot for people to watch the sunrise and take selfies.
Despite the horror she experienced first hand, Ms Bennett organised a memorial for her friend on June 28 with dozens uniting together to commemorate Ms Ferry’s life.
In a quirky post that typified her best friend, Ms Bennett encouraged those attending to ‘tell me stories of how you met her’ and offered to answer any questions, ‘in good time’.
The two 21-year-olds had trekked through bush to watch the sunrise from the popular vantage point at North Head when a piece of concrete on a WWII bunker gave way and hit Ms Ferry on the head (She is pictured with Ms Bennett)
Ms Ferry’s heartbroken family and friends gathered arm-in-arm at sunset last Sunday as part of a memorial to the talented student
Ms Ferry’s father Jim last week shared tragic photos of the engineering student, 21, posing at a concrete WWII bunker just moments before she died
‘Let’s have a cuddle, a cry, a boogie, a flop, a gallop, a yell, a handstand, goddamit bring a kite. Let’s fly a kite,’ Ms Bennett wrote.
‘Get there as early as you’d like and stay as long as you need but I’ll get there around 3.30pm and at around 4.50pm we’re all going to hop in a circle as the sun sets.
‘Anyone is welcome to join, we’ll explain as we go and in the centre of the circle we’ll have a big photo of Anni and flowers. So many flowers. And absolutely anything else you’d like to add.
‘Wear as much colour as possible. Or something you wore with Anni that time. Lots of yellows and oranges. She’ll love that.’
Her father, a renowned northern beaches doctor, said his daughter would have liked the ‘Anni-type get together’.
Ms Ferry was a keen outdoors lover and regularly went on hikes or camping trips with friends
Dr Ferry, a renowned Manly obstetrician, said the two friends set out at 5.30am to walk through the popular, but rugged, section of Sydney Harbour National Park.
‘Annika wasn’t doing anything stupid. She was being her adventurous and joyful self. Annika loved sunrises,’ he told the Manly Daily.
‘I wanted people to see the photographs of Annika at North Head to show the joy she was feeling watching that beautiful sunrise.’
The road leading towards the remote tracks has now been closed off as local council engineers perform checks on the safety of the bunkers
Dr Ferry said his daughter, a former student at the Queenwood School at Mosman, was an avid traveller who had a passion for the environment.
‘She was into climbing and running. She played a lot of tennis. She played soccer. She just loved life. Light sparkled from her,’ he said.
The remote location of the bunkers, nestled among dense bush, meant the Westpac Rescue Helicopter was required to assist.
Ms Ferry’s family was well known among the northern beaches community, with her father Dr James Gerry a renowned obstetrician. Annika is pictured with her father and brothers Anton (left) and Christian (right)
The road leading towards the remote tracks has now been closed off as local council engineers perform checks on the safety of the bunkers.
Ms Ferry was a Dean’s Honour List recipient at the University of New South Wales in 2019 for her work studying renewable energy engineering.
She and Ms Bennett – who represented Australia at the IAAF World Championships in 2019 and hopes to compete at the Olympics one day – had trekked through dense bushland in a bid to reach the spot for the perfect sunrise photo.
Ms Ferry (pictured with her dad) had been studying engineering at the University of New South Wales after graduating from Queenwood School for Girls in Mosman. She visited Antarctica with her father last year
The friends loved the great outdoors and had documented several of their recent travels on social media.
Paramedics walked hundreds of metres through the bush to reach Ms Ferry, but by the time they arrived it was too late to save her.
Harrowing footage from the scene showed a distraught Ms Bennett clutching onto paramedics as she was taken to hospital, where she was treated for shock.
Northern Beaches acting inspector Stuart Byrnes said the ‘inhospitable’ terrain around the North Head area had made it difficult for police to reach Ms Ferry and Ms Bennett
NSW Police acting inspector Stuart Byrnes admitted the death was a ‘sad accident’.
‘There was only two people there, and one of them has gone to hospital in shock, we’re still trying to get to the bottom to the lead-up of it all,’ he told reporters.
‘We believe it was a very sad accident and our thoughts go out to the family, but it’s the subject of an investigation at the moment.’