Chapter 107

This time I end up in the river – Someone is looking after me

On Monday, 28th September 1987, the Department moved from Turbot Street to Mineral House in George Street and I ended up with an office over-looking the South Bank site which was being prepared for EXPO.

The section was involved with processing applications for Governor in Council approval for works on tidal lands under section 86 of the Harbours Act, and time was critical to ensure there was no delay.
With Patrick’s arrival we soon found out that the sound of the engine settled him down and soon he was sleeping soundly. Ian bought land at Gin Gin to develop for a Motel so I went with Ian and Sandra to inspect the site .
There was another Johnsonian Club outing on the 12th December, 1987…Peter Elliot and family came on Rebecca and we rafted up with Paul and Margaret O’Hare, Richard Arnold and Richard and Lyn Schmidt. Returning to Manly the wind dropped out, so I motored back and spent the rest of the week at Manly. Christmas day soon arrived and I spent it at Ian’s house on the beach. There was Ron Hunt, Rebecca, Lyndon, Stephen, Ian, Sandra and three youngsters, and myself. Then on the 29th December there was a visit from the Tall Ships entering the river in the morning, so Ron Hunt, Jeff Mayfield and I went across to see them. A most impressive fleet at Entrance Beacon, four ships at anchor. The American Coast Guard was the largest. We motored around each vessel then proceeded to Newstead to get a better view of them berthing. There were people and boats everywhere, then we returned to Manly. New Year’s Eve was spent at Manly, Ron, Geoff, Christine and Beverley, Roy from Aloha and Tom. An excellent evening…lamb, vegetables and champagne. Christine and Beverley stayed in the aft cabin overnight. 1987 was an eventful year and it looks as though 1988 will be equally busy.
Early in the new year, I had another interesting experience living on the boat in the river. Rebecca was moored just upstream from the ferry pontoon opposite the Customs House and the dinghy was tied to the pontoon walkway. I had a busy day and went to the Johnsonian Club for dinner after work, having an enjoyable evening and getting back to the pontoon around midnight. There was another dinghy tied to the pontoon between mine and the pontoon so, as I had done many times before, I had my suit coat off and tossed it into my dinghy along with my brief case and stepped into the near dinghy to get to mine. As I stepped over, my dinghy flipped over and I ended up in the river with my suit coat floating off with my briefcase and one oar. I managed to right the dinghy, get it empty and paddle up to Rebecca where I found a torch and put the outboard motor on the dinghy and this time it started and ran smoothly. So I motored down stream and saw the brief case still floating under the Storey Bridge. Retrieving the brief case I motored back to Rebecca, tied the dinghy securely to the stern and put the outboard motor back on-board. Then I dried the papers in the brief case and dried myself. Next moment there was a dinghy with two water police aboard…”anything wrong sir”…so I explained the situation and everyone was satisfied. My loss was a suit coat with a $100 fountain pen in the pocket and one oar which was found later on and returned to me. I had carved Rebecca into the blades of each oar so they were no use to anyone else. Again I felt that someone was looking after me.