View Full Version : ANOTHER TRIP TO AUSTRALIA (By Phillip Collins)

Doc Vernon
4th October 2016, 07:18 PM

It was now early July, and I was at home in Yalding, Kent and as most of my paid leave was over long ago. And I had been informed that the Dorset was back in Liverpool, i was informed that i could join her again when i wanted.
So, it was decided, I packed my things and made my way to the railway station, I had got a warrant from the shipping company, so that i could join the ship in Liverpool. Soon I was on my way, up to London, across on the underground to the main station for the Liverpool trains. After a few hours, I had arrived in Liverpool.at the station, I hailed a taxi, and this took me to the quay where the ship was berthed. Once on board, I reported to the chief steward and made my way to my cabin, got changed and started work. it did not take me long to get back into the old routine.
As part of the crew, I was the steward’s boy again, and my area of work was the same as the last trip. This is where the food was served up for the officers and the engineers; one of my basic jobs was washing up all the dirty plates. We the catering staff had our own mess room where we had to serve ourselves.
Now we had all signed on, again a crew of 57, on Thursday 11/07/68, again i was on £23.00 per month
It was while we were in the Liverpool docks, that I had an accident, the galley boy and i were putting some rubbish into one of the refuse containers, when the galley boy let go of the lid, and the lid smashed onto my hand. Causing a fractured finger and split the nail in half.
I had to go to the local hospital to have my finger stitched. They put my finger into an aluminium splint and bandaged the rest of my hand.
I found it very difficult to work.
Once loading of the general cargo was finished, we set sail on Friday 19/07/68 from Liverpool and then traversing the docks assisted by two tugs into the river. I did not see much of this as i was working, as i was, on the last trip, I just seem to be working all the time.
With a pilot on board, who was there to guide us out of the docks and out into the river?
When we got out to sea, the usual fire/boat drill was carried out and
We were on our way to Las Palmas; it was here that we were going to refuel the ship. We had a pleasant voyage across the Bay of Biscay, and we were soon arriving at Las Palmas, with the sun shining, it was very pleasant, and hot. The order of the day was shorts and tee shirts for the crew and uniform whites for the officers.
The date Tuesday 23/07/68.once refuelling had been carried out we were on our way, and we left the next day on Wednesday 24/07/68.i did not have any time to get ashore as we were so far away from the town.
We were now making our way down the coast of Africa towards, Cape Horn. We arrived at cape town on 05/08/68,we were here to load fresh fruit and French language newspapers and magazines for our next port of call. it was whilst we were here, that I went ashore to the local hospital to have the stitches removed from my injured hand.
We only stayed here one day and night, leaving the next day Tuesday 06/08/68.our next port of call was unusual, it was the small island of Amsterdam island in the Antarctic/ Indian Ocean. We arrived there on Tuesday 13/08/68 and anchored, the only settlement on this island is a research station. Where we were to re- supply them with allsorts of general cargo. Together with the newspapers and magazines. This cargo had to be transferred ashore in the ships lifeboats (a picture of the island, is in the back of this folder).note one of the high peaks on the island is called la Grande marmite. The other reason for calling here was to pick up a steward who had been landed here a month earlier, from one of the companies ships. The steward had an acute appendicitis and as this island was the nearest place at the time with surgical facilities, this is where he was taken. as i understand from some of the crew, there were some hairy moments when delivering the said cargo.
We then left the next day on Wednesday 14/08/68.this Island is so small that it is not shown on most maps.
once we had left , we were off to Australia again ,soon the coast line came into view, we were about to enter the port of Melbourne, and the date Thursday 22/08/68,almost immediately unloading of the general cargo, such as spirits,machinery,fabrics and other goods, too numerous to mention. Was commenced. We were in this port for some time approx. ten days, and the usual trips ashore were made, for sightseeing. And trips to the local bars for drink and female company. We left here on the Monday 02/09/68.and we were on our way to Sydney. I had been here before on my last voyage on the Dorset. We arrived on Wednesday 04/09/68.we were to be here for five days, however I managed to get ashore a few times.it was here that i visited the Sydney harbour bridge on the 7th of September and signed the visitors book at the pylon lookout, I also got a certificate to show that i had been there. I still have this certificate. Whilst here I made a visit to Luna Park at the bottom of the harbour bridge, this was a funfair. one amazing thing i can remember is being able to purchase a postcard of the completed Sydney opera house complete with grass, although it was still in the process of being built.
We left this port on Monday 09/09/68.for Brisbane, again another port i had been too before. We arrived here on Wednesday 11/09/68 and departed on Saturday 14/09/68, the usual trips ashore were made, mainly in the evenings. Our next port was Townsville arriving there on Monday 16/09/68 and departing on Thursday 19/09/68.i had not been to this port before, so everything was new and interesting. I just had to go ashore a few times, to see what was around.
The next port of call was somewhere i had not been too before either, this was port alma, we arrived here on Friday 20/09/68, and stayed here for a whole five days, where we started to load cargo for the uk, which consisted of apples, canned peaches, butter and frozen beef, we also loaded steel five gallon drums full of honey, we left here on Wednesday 25/09/68.
Our next port of call was back to Brisbane to load more cargo of beef for home, we arrived here on Thursday 26/09/68, some more trips were made ashore.it was here that the abattoir was situated at the end of the jetty and because it was so close, some of the crew, got permission to visit the abbatoir, some of them did not feel very well when they left and came back on board the ship. We left here on Monday 30/09/68 for our final port in Australia, that was Melbourne, this was to be the longest period in port on this voyage, we arrived there on Thursday 03/10/68 where the loading of more apples, butter and beef were taken on board, and we left on Tuesday 15/10/68.here I made many trips ashore. I tried to visit some places i had not been able to get to before; sometimes it was not always possible. This was to be my last visit to Australia.
We were now on our way to Durban, in South Africa, we were not here for very long, arriving on Thursday 31/10/68 and leaving on Friday 01/11/68, the next day. We stopped here for re-fuelling only.
Steaming up the coast of Africa, passing the area known as the, skeleton coast, this is where over the years many ships have become stranded, after breaking down or losing their way. These ships would then slowly drift ashore and over time the skeletons would end up within the desert, many miles from the sea (for those of you with computers, if you go to a programme known as” Google earth”, you will be able to pick out these ships within the desert) as we steamed onwards and upwards we made our way across the bay of Biscay and into the Irish sea. We were making our way to Belfast; arriving there on Tuesday 19/11/68 it was here i remember drinking a pint of Guinness, ahh!! On a trip ashore. Also a few more trips ashore and more Guinness!!!
We left on Saturday 23/11/68, and finally docked in Liverpool later that same day,23/11/68.where, when the ship was tied up we were able to sign off and make our way home. Once the relief crew had taken over. Again off to lime street station in a shared taxi, where i caught the train back to London across London on the underground and then the train to Yalding.
I was home with my parents and sisters for a spot more leave.
I was to be at home for Christmas. The last one was spent in Canada.

Andy Henson
30th August 2018, 09:51 PM
Great article. Brought back many memories.

happy daze john in oz
31st August 2018, 06:30 AM
You did well mate, and were a bit lucky as six o'clock swill had gone by the time you were here in Oz in Melbourne.
Thankfully all the other ports were a bit more civilized, well almost.