After signing up, or more correctly my father signing me over in Sydney 8th July 1961, I was train bound for Perth.
On this train were the others from the Eastern States, all off to Leeuwin.
The first 6 weeks or so were in Mokare and then to Winjan for the remainder.
Possibly the thing I most remember about Leeuwin was the physical training ‘shake ups’ by the sadistic PTIs.
My first command was at Leeuwin, it was from Garden Island back to Fremantle in a 27 foot whaler after a camp over there, I cannot ever remember being so frightened, possibly only overtaken by Nobby Clark (Commander) yelling at me to tackle an opposing player during a rugby game.
The usual postings occurred after those 12 months, Cerberus for a Gunnery Control course, Anzac for sea training then to the Melbourne (onboard for the Voyager disaster).
Back to Leeuwin in 1964 for the first Upper Yardman’s course, however decided a lady in Avalon Beach in Sydney was more attractive than Kit Carson so “pulled the pin’ as they say!
After a Leading Seaman’s course it was off to what became a love affair with Waterhen.
Snipe was the first of many small vessels I served on which also included the Kimbla, Bandolier, Bayonet, Ibis, Snipe again, Bombard and Aware.
During this time I completed the first Minor War Vessels Watch Keeping course at Watson as well as doing the Coxswains change over course (the seaman’s one, not the patrolman’s).
I payed off from the Aware in Waterhen and then off to Fiji where I was employed as the General Manager of a marine company.
Using my Pusser’s Watch Keeping Cert. I obtained a Fijian Masters Cert. and was on various vessels in the South Pacific waters.
During this time we set up Pizza Hut, the first car wash machine and were retailing Shell products.
After meeting my wife, Davina, and chasing her to Peking where she was posted to after Fiji we were married in the British Embassy compound.
In 1979 it was becoming more difficult to retain a work permit in Fiji so we decided to return to Australia, with our then 5-month-old daughter Melanie.
A brief spell was spent in Brisbane where I used my Naval and Fijian tickets to obtain a Qld masters Cert.
Townsville then beckoned as a position was offered as the Mate, relieving Master on the 247 foot long S D Townsville owned by the Townsville Harbour Board.
Dredging then was my thing for 12 months until a job became available with the Tug Company as a Master.
A second daughter was to follow and thirty years later I was still there, the company then losing the contract last year, which enabled me to walk with a ‘small’ redundancy.
During the years in Townsville I was able to get back into the Surf Lifesaving movement as I had obtained a bronze in Avalon all those years ago.
Several years ago I was made a Life Member of the Arcadian Surf Lifesaving Club, (somewhat humbling).
Another Life Membership was received from the Townsville Maritime Museum for our assistance in establishing and setting up their new Museum.
Since finishing up with the Tug Company I have done a little relieving and delivery work on tugs as well as being involved in two salvage operations in North Queensland.