Chapter 111

Retirement, the self imposed deadline; I was proud to have worked at the Department of Harbours and Marine

Now I had a self-imposed close of business date to finish of retiring on close of business 18th November 1988 and could plan for Rebecca’s voyage. There was dental work, medical checks, boat safety gear, charts, spare parts etc., etc., all to be completed before Christmas. The boat went on the slip at Morris Marina on 14th October and Lyndon and Oscar helped me with antifouling and treating any rust spots on toe rail brackets and transom. Peter Anderson designed and organised the casting of a metal stamp for ship’s papers which he delivered to me as well as the rubber stamp Rebecca.

I arranged to have all vaccinations that Stuart my GP thought necessary and obtained the Director General Health Department approval to have certain drugs in my first aid kit on Rebecca, and upgrade the kit. I had troubles with the anchor winch and eventually arranged for Paul Koening to look at it and adapt the arrangement I had to the direct coupled arrangement he used for the winches he assembled. Then I arranged for Mike Hood to service the engines and have the winch modified ending up with a neat efficient winch direct driven by a 24V aircraft starter motor from a 12V battery bank. It was robust and simple and I did not have to reinvent the wheel. All up that winch would be the most expensive one in the harbour but now I am happy with the arrangement.

Friday, 18th November arrived…retirement. There was the usual gathering at morning tea where I was presented with a camera for my trip. The staff had put in for a collection and then I was asked what I wold like…as a camera was what I needed I added a few more dollars and ended up with a Pentax reflex camera with telephoto lens. The usual speeches were made and the most touching incident was the presentation of a scroll made by the drawing office. It was rolled up and wrapped in red tape and inserted in a tube like a baton. When opened, a sheet about A3 size unrolled with a sketch of Rebecca in the centre and comments and good wishes written all over it. It was headed “Farewell John, Good wishes and fair weather in your retirement; Bon Voyage from the crew at Harbour and Marine…your friends”. This made me feel very privileged and rather humble and I now have it hanging on the wall and it reminds me of the people I worked with for just over ten years. I had arranged for those who wished to go to lunch to come to the Johnsonian Club and around twenty came along. We sat at the long table and had a typical ‘Johno’ meal with beer and good wine with the usual speeches and all went well. Lloyd had given me a booklet ‘The Gospel according to St. John’ and my last official act was to call up his file and put a note of appreciation of his efforts as my Executive Engineer. I was proud to have worked with the Department and enjoyed my time there.


It is fitting that dad’s memoir concludes just as he begins the next adventure of sailing Rebecca 23,700 nautical miles around the southern hemisphere, before building his bungalow at Treasure Island Avenue, Karragarra Island and taking time to enjoy island living.

John Beath Obituary
John Beath’s Obituary