Gold Ribbon Banner
Thursday, July 18, 2019

Walsh Bay with ALFRED HOLT & Co’s
BLUE FUNNEL LINE
AUGUST 1958 to JULY 1959
As a Junior Engineer

Orestes sailed up through the magnificent harbour as the sun was setting and I managed to get some cine film shot as we passed under the bridge and docked in Walsh Bay which was a regular berth for ‘Far East’ ships.

We started on the ‘Tie Rod’ as soon as we FWE’s. Luck was with us and we got the two bits out to use as a pattern for a shore-side engineering firm to make a replacement to fit in a day or so. Job Done! We all showered and went up to town, which was a short walk up some steps passed old colonial houses with tin roofs and ornamental cast iron railings (the place is called ‘The Rocks’). First impressions were not exceptional, but as we were due to sail for Melbourne next Friday there will be more time to look around.

Had your letters, I see Avonmouth’s first game of season was a 9-9 draw. Good news, they have the go ahead for the Severn Bridge, Aust >> Beachley. Thanks for couple of addresses to look up in Australia. Saturday night a couple of us went to a wrestling match, good fun and afterwards beer and ‘T’-bone steak in a Café on Circular Quay, very tasty for 8/-.

Day off on Sunday, so with the 3rd visited his uncle who lives over in Manly, which meant catching a ferry. Meeting his uncle and some of his friends in Manly we continued up to Palm Beach where I tried body surfing, great fun, I only caught one good wave but it was worth the effort. The beach is patrolled by lifeguards paddling kayaks, just off the shore.

SYDNEY >>> MELBOURNE
Sunday 18th October ’58. On way to Melbourne, if it’s anything like Sydney should be ok. Passed through a school of whales going south, “there she blows”, it’s quite a sight, a big spray, a black back and a tail right out of the water as it dives. Weather now is colder with squalls of rain and a southerly wind almost like an English spring. It’s a good job I packed a couple of woolly jumpers, but didn’t get any cine shots as it was too dull. Looking back at Sydney, it was ok, a bit expensive. Outstanding was the bridge and the beaches, some say the best in the world. Most have changing facilities with lockers and a shower. Last weekend they said there were 70,000 on the beaches as there was some sort of holiday for the start of summer. Also went to a party with some of the lads on the Changsha, one of John Swire & Co China Navigation on the Australia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan run. Very good party and no hangover in the morning, it fiished about 03:00.

Sport is everywhere, most pubs or bars have TV in them. There’s horse racing, trotting, greyhounds etc. Betting? One of the engineers lost £5, my limit is 5/-.

We get into Melbourne tomorrow, in Australia the trips between ports are only a couple of days at the most, the longest being the ten/twelve days from Java to Sydney.

Melbourne, 20th October ’58.
‘Stand By’ is outside Philip Heads the entrance to Port Philip Bay, the 2nd let me take control of the starboard main engine, saying “If you blow any of the cylinder relief valves, giving it too much ‘Air-Fuel’, you’ll stay down and grind them in again”! I “got in rite”, so he was ok.

Orestes berthed at the pier at Port Melbourne where the liners dock, in fact the P&O liner Arcadia is tied up astern of us. A big surprise! As the 4th is getting married in Adelaide his mum and dad have arrived on Arcadia without him knowing. I was talking to his dad down the engine room (I’m on nights) he said he didn’t like Australia and saw no reason why his son couldn’t marry an English girl! Australian girls, I met a few at a party to talk to, mostly nurses from local hospitals, are outgoing and they don’t mind drinking beer! Life here is open air, as the weather is good. You also see Aussie’s on the beaches, nice and sunburnt. But we’re ahead, having just come down from the tropics. So we don’t stand out. It’s easy going into town as Melbourne has a very good tram system. As I’m on nights I went to visit Patrick’s parents, found out his dad is a retired fruit farmer and now lives in a suburb of Melbourne. I had lunch and spent the afternoon talking to his dad in their garden, although only small, has lemon, orange, peach and apricot trees, also of course apple and pear. You can grow almost anything out here. I was taught how to graft fruit trees. Went shopping for a few odds and ends as well.

MELBOURNE >>> ADELAIDE
October 25th ’58. Spent two days in Melbourne and trip to Adelaide was uneventful, but we were all invited to two parties - very enjoyable. Next trip I’ve been promised to be taken spear fishing. Adelaide is amazing as you see old 1920/30’s cars with no rust as the climate is dry.

PORTLAND, VICTORIA
Sunday 2nd November ’58. Coming down here, we ran through a full gale, never ‘took a green’ although heading into it, Orestes is a bloody good sea boat! Got some good cine shots of albatross with telephoto following us, hope they come out! Portland is about halfway between Adelaide and Melbourne while here Orestes is loading 400 tons of milk products powdered and condensed. I’ve got the day off so will explore as it’s only a small town and in the middle of cattle country, mainly dairy. Just off the ship, along from the pier you can watch gannets diving for fish, you can also see penguins.

Sunday evening quite a few of us went to church (C of E). After the service we were invited to tea and biscuits and social, (people come in from outlying farms etc to go to church.) Almost the first person I spoke too was the mayor (she had noticed my accent) amazingly she was from Bristol and had been out here for 34 years. Well that was that, I spent most of the evening talking to her. She invited a couple of us to visit her small farm, but I had to decline as it was my day on watch. While talking she asked me if I knew Pucklechurch; I said I did; wait for it! The 3rd said he did as well, he’s from Dunfermline, but his brother who is in the RAF lives in Pucklechurch and is only a few doors from the mayor’s sister (small world). The district around looks similar to Devon or Cornwall. At the moment they are building an extension to the harbour to take six ships, development out here is everywhere with jobs for skilled workers. I noticed in the church hall there was a poster “Bring Out A Briton”, there is also a lot of Europeans out here.

PORTLAND >>> MELBOURNE >>> SYDNEY
Orestes On the go, with short trips ashore, and maintenance. More or less the same routine as coming south. A few parties, cinema, watch rugby and going to pubs etc. Loading in Melbourne then up to Sydney for part cargo then Port Kembla picking up manufactured goods.

PORT KEMBLA >>> BRISBANE
Brisbane is only a short stop, just to load meat products in our fridge hold - it’s for the Commonwealth Troops at Butterworth in Malaya. One of the ‘perks’, the shippers give the ship boxes of choice steaks, so the saloon serves steak twice a week, brilliant! Latest news is that we will be dry-docking’ in Singapore, some time.

BRISBANE >>> PORT ALMA >>> THURSDAY ISLAND
November 14th ’58. Friday.
Weather warm and those of us who are off duty, are aft, sunbathing and writing and reading, plus some studying. One of the things we wear is flip flops - they are a Japanese rubber sandal and everyone has them on board, the name comes from, as you walk they go “Flip Flop!”. They cost about 5/- in Singapore, I saw some in Aussie for 15/-. Port Alma is about 15 or so miles from Rockhampton, the wharf is serviced by a single track railway, as there is no road, the nearest one is about nine miles away.

The loco that brings out the cargo is an old steam one with a large searchlight on top of the smoke box and you can see it coming for miles as the coastal area is mostly a wilderness of mud and sand flats. Only a short stay, a few hours. We amused ourselves watching the Chinese fishing, they landed two small sharks (about 3ft) and a few crabs. They keep their catch of fish in a holding tank on deck, fed from a deck service line and when they have enough, kill them and hang them out to dry. We were told that hammerheads have been landed here, as well as 200lb groupers! I was talking to a local bloke, who shoots fish. Really! It’s a sort of ‘lung fish’ and you can see them jumping about over the Mud. November 17th ’58, Tuesday, Thursday Island.

The weather was hot coming up from Port Alma so it must be stinking inland where there’s been a drought for a few years with the inherent danger of bush fires, this morning the 3rd says he saw one away in the distance about 02:00 hrs. We are due to drop the pilot at Thursday about 23:00 hrs. Life now has settled to routine! News on the radio is that Britain has the worst smog for years and there is a new type of smog mask! We listen to the radio a lot, England’s cricket team are out here and seem to be doing ok, Fred is popular out here, took a wicket in his first over!

Read the rest of this article with additional pictures in Sea Breezes Magazine - March 2015 Issue
Click here to subscribe

Subscribe Graphic

Latest Issue - Look Inside!

Boudicca

Most Popular

  • Oil Leak Survey of WWII British Tanker Wreck +

  • Saint Brandan - "Vital Spark of the South Atlantic" +

  • Six LNG Carriers Join BP Fleet +

  • Tragedy of the “Stellar Daisy” +

  • Museum Says ‘it’ is the End of the Line for ‘Her’ +

  • 1
  • 2

Latest Products

Maritime Log

  • Crowds Tribute to the Last Tyne +

    Annie Blaker The last of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s famous Tyne class lifeboats was launched for the last time at her Read More
  • Clyde’s Vital Role in Onshore Windfarm +

    Clydeport Clydeport has played a vital role in the building of the UK’s largest onshore windfarm on Eaglesham Moor, just 20 Read More
  • Museum Says ‘it’ is the End of the Line for ‘Her’ +

    Scottish Maritime Museum The Scottish Maritime Museum, at Irvine, has abandon hundreds of years of maritime history and tradition and decided to stop Read More
  • Six LNG Carriers Join BP Fleet +

    BP Partnership Class Six new 173,400 cu m capacity LNG carriers have joined the fleet of BP Shipping, of London. Read More
  • Warehouse Boosts Import of Forest Products +

    Freight A new £17mn warehouse is to be built at Liverpool by the national logistics provider Jenkins which specialises in paper, Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

North America

  • Changes in Tolls for Using Panama Canal +

    MSC Pohlin The Panama Canal plans to modify its tolls structure for all types of ships “to better serve the global maritime Read More
  • Largest LNG Carrier Sails From West to East +

    Al Safliya The largest LNG tanker to use the Panama Canal since it was expanded less that three years ago passed through Read More
  • Oil Leak Survey of WWII British Tanker Wreck +

    Coimbra Wreck The US Coast Guard were evaluating a plan to remove oil from a tanker that was sunk in the Second Read More
  • Line Sells Long Beach Container Terminal +

    Long Beach Container Terminal The Hong Kong shipping group Orient Overseas (International) Ltd (OOIL) is selling its Long Beach Container Terminal, California, to a Read More
  • Terminal to be Extended After Record Year +

    Viau Montreal The Viau container terminal at Montreal, Canada, is to be expanded so that it can handle 600,000 teu a year. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Asia-Pacific

  • “Prelude” Makes its Debut With First LNG Cargo +

    Prelude The first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has left Shell’s floating LNG facility Prelude some 475kms north-east of Broome Read More
  • Special Navigating System to be Fitted to VLCCs +

    AR Nav Following two-ship trials, augmented reality (AR) navigation systems are to be installed on 21 very large crude oil carriers (VLCCs) Read More
  • Work Starts on Hybrid Series +

    Grimaldi Hybrid In China, construction has started at the Jinling Shipyard on the first of the Grimaldi Group’s new hybrid roll-on, roll-off Read More
  • Tragedy of the “Stellar Daisy” +

    Stellar Daisy The very large ore carrier Stellar Daisy, 266,141dwt, was owned by Polaris Shipping, of Seoul, South Korea, and had been Read More
  • Line’s Special Offer to Help Clean Up the Seas +

    The Ocean Cleanup The Singapore shipping company APL is providing free shipping for the non-profit Ocean Cleanup organisation that is working to develop Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Naval Focus

  • Fourth Dreadnought Named HMS “King George VI” +

    Dreadnought Class UK News The fourth member of the new Dreadnought class of nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines will bear the name Read More
  • US Navy Orders Flight II Landing Platform Dock +

    LDP30 American News The contract for the construction of LPD30, the first Flight II Landing Platform Dock of the San Antonio Read More
  • US Navy Seeks Faster Ship Delivery +

    FFGX Rendering American News The future frigate program for the US Navy is getting fully underway and some idea of the urgency Read More
  • HMS “Dragon” in £75 Million Narcotics Seizure +

    HMS Dragon British News Whilst on patrol in the Gulf, the Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon seized and destroyed ten tonnes of Read More
  • New Generation of Enterprise Confirmed +

    USS Enterprise American News On 31 January, the US Department of Defense announced the awarding of a block buy contract with Huntington Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ferry World

  • Oscar Goes to Italy +

    Oscar Wilde Irish Continental Group has entered into a bareboat hire purchase agreement for the sale of its 1987-built Oscar Wilde to Read More
  • CalMac Heritage +

    Columba I include a fine poster and artist’s image of the famed Macbrayne paddler Columba. Read More
  • Russian Adventure +

    Ocean Adventurer To the North East Coast and arriving at Aberdeen for the first time for many months, I witnessed a passenger Read More
  • Further Delay for LNG Powered Glen Sannox +

    Glen Sannox The drama surrounding the much delayed new ferries for Caledonian MacBrayne continues to rumble on with the latest, not unsurprising, Read More
  • Pentland Ferries Loses Appeal +

    Hamnavoe Scotland’s Pentland Ferries has lost its appeal against Scottish government state aid for ferry services between the mainland and the Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Sail Review/Coastal Comment

  • The Green Band of Marstal +

    Bessie Ellen The Danish Maritime Museum had the schooner Bonavista built on the island of Aero at Marstal and this year they Read More
  • Norweigan National Day +

    Thorodd I was in Montrose on the Norwegian National Day, 17 May, when its independent constitution from Sweden was confirmed in Read More
  • Port of Aberdeen Fifty Years On +

    Aberdeen Harbour Extension Project When I first arrived in Aberdeen in 1968, I couldn’t believe my luck. Read More
  • Thames Tributary Barges +

    Lady of the Lea Most of the rivers flowing into the Thames had their own barge type. Read More
  • Dry Rot and Dry Dock +

    HMS Victory For some time Victory, the 110gun ship of the line, has had trouble with dry rot and is in danger Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

From the Lookout

  • Lifeline Cash for “Waverley” Agreed +

    Waverley The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS) has announced that it will provide immediate funding to support efforts to “Save The Read More
  • Viking Glory Celebrates Keel Laying +

    Front Altair The construction of Viking Glory is proceeding on schedule. Read More
  • The Majestic River Rhine +

    MS Charles Dickens In September of this year, my wife and I enjoyed a wonderful Riviera Travel river cruise on the majestic River Read More
  • What Next in the US-Iran Saga? +

    Front Altair Over the last year, the escalating trade war between the US and China has created many headlines, not least in Read More
  • Modus Expands Fleet of Hybrid Autonomous Vehicles +

    Saab Seaeye Modus has placed an order with Saab Seaeye for the next vehicle in its Hybrid Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (HAU V) Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Cruise News/Superyacht News

  • Every Ash Cloud Has A Silver Lining +

    The ash cloud crisis continues to cause uncertainty as we see sporadic closures of airspace and cancelled flights, and this Read More
  • Damen Group Superyachts +

    Amels With 25 projects underway, business is booming for Amels, the Dutch luxury yacht builder. Read More
  • Singer Andrea Bocelli Trades Up in Size +

    Stella del Nord Andrea Bocelli, the blind Italian tenor and song writer whose work spans both popular music and classical opera is a Read More
  • Plans for Greenock Terminal Approved +

    Greenock Ocean Terminal Plans have been approved for an iconic building on the banks of the Clyde at Greenock to welcome cruise ship Read More
  • Leixoes Cruise Terminal, Gateway to Porto +

    Leixoes Cruise Terminal With the growth of the cruise industry, many ports worldwide have been active in developing or improving their port facilities. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ships, Ports and Places

Suez Canal

The Creation of the Suez Canal - Part Two

IAt the end of 1858, the company’s Works Committee convened for the first time. It included an impressive assembly of Read More
Mv Saint Brandan

Saint Brandan - "Vital Spark of the South Atlantic"

In 1876, James Gardner commissioned a small vessel to transport quarried stone from Ballachulish to Glasgow. He also opened an Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Companies, Events and Other Features

Mercury

Tribute to the "Mercury"

In the summer of 1968, the training ship Mercury in the Hamble River closed down after many years of training Read More
SS Eastern (2)

MT Arthur Foss

“The last vessel to escape Wake Island before Japanese forces captured the island” Read More
  • 1
  • 2