Tuesday, August 28, 2018


Lobster Fishing at Beachport with Tony Campbell

Going back to Millicent South Australia, my base when i wasn't  shearing,  this  particular time I returning from Cairns  North Queensland on my way to Perth Western Australiai, an earlier  posting i wrote about my leaving Cairns and returning to Perth. 
Millicent is where my Brother Laurie lived, he was a Plasterer and Tiler, we were good mates  as Brother’s should be. I would some-times help him as a Labourer when there was no shearing i enjoyed working with him, he was my hero, as a young man he was a boxer and held the tital as Welter weight Champion of W.A. 
Laurie said Tony Campbell was looking for a deckhand on his Cray Boat the "Henty",  and would I like to talk with him about the job, this I did and Tony accepted me as his Deck-hand. Before the season started the Cray Pots had to be made, there were already some left over from the previous season that had to be repaired,  ropes had to be cut to length and spliced, floats had to be spliced onto the Ropes, this I found interesting, we also had to do some work on the Boat i did this without payment, that was ok by me as I was learning something new.
Tony was a Tough man, I always said since working with him he was born 200 years too late, his  wife Pamela was the most gorgeous  Lady you could meet,  I could have run away with her under difference circumstances, but Tony would have killed me.
Pamela was never very far away,  Some- times Tony would be away for a few days and Pamela and myself would be working together ,splicing ropes, and preparing for the season, I don’t remember exactly as she was more interesting than splicing ropes, Pamela was  a honey and I was often tempted to race her off to the bedroom, but my better judgment told me behave, i even grew a beard and looked scruffy so she wouldent get too interested, i had a feeling there were vibes between us, Tony was very tough on her, her Son was never too far away, Tony Campbell was a champion Boxer in his younger days, Golden Gloves Champion,  and the toughest man I have ever known. i dident intend being his next victim.
Tony’s Cray fishing Licence was registered for about sixty Cray Pots , they were made from steel rods, very heavy, unlike the Western Australian Pots made from Cane.
The Cray season finally began 1965, Tony’s  Cray Boat the “Henty “ was only 30 foot long, a wooden  pot belly Boat, one of the smallest in Beachport  on the South coast of South Australia. Tony arranged for me to register with "Safcol"  this is where the Lobsters would be processed, and I received a percentage of the catch.
Had someone told me what to expect  I would never have believed them,  I was able to share a shack (house) with another Deck Hand from another Boat, a crappy room with a crappy  mattress  no modern cons. The first day out on the boat was a stressful experience as I had never worked on a Cray Boat or had any experience on any Boat, and especially with a Man like Tony. The bait was in a cold store room, i had to prepare it the night before, cut it up in small chunks depending on the type of bait, early in the morning i had to put it in a trolly and pushed this out to the jetty, loaded it onto a Dingy, and rowed out to the Boat on the  mooring. The mornings being cold and the wind whistling around your ears made it a miserable job. 
This year was the worst season they have had for  fifteen years where bad weather was concerned.  I would wake up at 4am and could hear the roar of the surf and dread haveing to go out to sea in a small Boat, there was not many days we didn't go out to pull and bait the pots, the southern ocean is treacherous, we could never predict what the day would bring, most days the ocean was choppy , other days it would have big rolls our boat would disappear in the trough, then there were  days where the ocean would be like a sheet of glass. and you could see the shark fins swimming around the boat, these calm days were not very often, one day a rope got around the propeller, it had melted onto the prop with the friction heat, i volunteered to go over and cut it off, unbeknown to me at the time there were so many sharks.
One morning the wind had been blowing all night and the Ocean was building up a surge, the waves were breaking at the enterance to the Beachport bay an excellent Shelter from the Ocean, all the boats had turned back as the waves were too big, we headed out to the breakers, Tony was in the cabin stearing the boat with the motor just idaling slowly we moved closer to the breakers for about ten minuts, Ii didnt believe he would attempt to go out , but he was counting the time between the waves breaking,  suddenly he reved the motor and headed towards the breakers, we plowed through the surf and just made it through as a wave broke behind us, we were out past the breakers and heading out to sea, to pull our pots, the only boat out that day from Beachport.  Tony would some times pull other pots belonging to other cray fishermen, because we had a small slow boat we were nealy aleays the fiest to leave, and the last to return, this day we could not get back into the bay as the breakers had built up too big, we stayed out all night with little food and no blankets, except for this heavy cotton matting  from the Apsel Paper Mill, Tony had dropt the Ancker and we were bedded down for a rough night sleeping in the bildge, in the middle of the night we were woken up with the noise of a ships propellers, Tony went outside and then yelled to me to get up on deck, the Ship was bearing down on us, the Mast light was dead center between the  port and starboard lights, this told us one thing it was going to run us over, Tony started  the Motor as i pulled up the ancker, not an easy task under the conditions, we had about five minuts to spare. The ship was what they called a Iron Ship and passed us with only meters to spare, then Tony motored the boat closer to shore, this was also dangerous because in the dark we dident know if there were reefs, we could only guess where we were, how we survived that night was a miracal.
Another time we were out and heading home Tony saw all this drift wood the Ships had thrown overboard, he started pulling them onto the Boat as i steered with the motor just ticking over, then the rail broke and he fell in, with his wet weather gear and wearing rubber  boots, i reved the engine and came round to pick him up, reaching out to grabed his hand, luckily there was still some rail on the rear of the boat, and he was able to grab the bottom of the rail, getting him on board was not an easy task, good he was strong and tough.
Tony was always on my back and agressive towards me especially if i missed the float, i would have to lean over the boat rail and hook the float or rope floating in the ocean while Tony steered the boat, if i missed it he would have to go round and have another go,  it wasnt always easy because of the bad weather, the winch would not  work normally and the rope would slipp, i would have to hold the rope and keep the tension on while it was winching up the pots, the rope would slip if the pot got cought on a reef or the current was too strong the tention on the rope was at breaking point, it would slip through the winch  and wizz back into the ocean, the coiled rope on deck was a danger if my foot got  caught in it i would have been taken overboard with the pot,   that year three people drowned on the South Coast, ad one man died by being draged overboard.
 One day i told Tony to get off my fucking back, and he did, i believe he respected me for  saveing his life,  he wasn't liked by most of the other fishermen, some said i should have left him there to drown, it got back to me he could drown himself so long as he didnt drown me, He quite often got into a fight with the Hartley Brothers, they were also cray fishing,  he would take them both on, being the tough Man he was most men would avoid him.
The Boat broke down near the end of the season , Tony had to go to Adelaide to get a part for the Motor, i suggested i go with him, i did this so he would came back to Beachport to finish the season, in  Adelaide he took me to a licenced restaurant he drank about four bottles of some kind of wine, i didn't drink much, Tony was yodelling and had his elastic sided Riding boots  on the table, this  reataurant had a floor above and a balcony overlooking the bottom floore, Tony said to me see that balcony, i through a man over that balcony. Two police came into the restaurant the  owner must have called them, as he knew Tony from the previous  time, Tony saw them and sauntered up to the counter and  was talking with them, i could see he was going to flatten thies two policemen. so i walked up to the cops and said he was with me,  i said to Tony lets go Tony, and the Cops  said  get him home or we will arrest him. i grabed Tonys arm and said lets go Tony, he followed me out like i could not believe , knowing Tony, this would never happen had it been onother  person, i believe it was because i saved his life.  good i saved his life or some one would have had to save mine that night ha ha .but i also admired the Man and respected him as he was a real man, not like some men i have met though my life.
I remember an instance before i new Tony very well before i started working with him, we were in a Hotel in Millicent, Tony was at the bar he had been drinking, i saw him eyeing off these four men sitting at a table haveing lunch together, they were Bank Managers, i could see Tony glaring at them, then he started abusing them repeatedly, none of these Bank managers were game to move or say anything knowing Tony, he applied for a loan and they  knocked him back. Tony was  educated and a very smart, he owned a Realestate business when i first knew about  him, he was concidered to be untouchable. another story he was in melbourne and got bashed by six Coppers, he flew back to Millicent, the doctor said he should have gone to intensive care in melbourne, any other Man would have died.
We met up again in Western Australia, after i had started my Business New Westline Mail Order Co. he phoned me from up North, as he was on a Station and wanted a Metal detector to prospect for gold, as i sold them through my business "Westline", later  we met in a Hotel in Perth, he was still wearing his elastic side boots and a ten gallon hat, he was just as tough as when i new him in Millicent, i was told Pamela won Lotto, she bought him A Station up North of Western Australia, i believe she Divorced him and is now living in Adelaide. Tony is now deceased 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

This is my Life The Beginning

Going back as far as i can remember,

Why am i saying Ian's Life well I have been called Ian from as early as i can remember being and it stuck


I was living on a farm with my step Fathers, Mother, four sisters and two Brothers at Perillup Western Australia, 30 miles west of Mt Barker, my stepfather Jim we called him Pop, why i don't know, Pop was a prisoner of war, captured by the Germans and later transferred to the Italians, as a prisoner of war Veteran he was allocated a land settlement farm at Perillup, Western Australia. Well lets start with my first interesting experience and major turning point in my life, the day began with a telephone call from my sister Elaine a few days earlier, she had left home to work on a Farm cooking for the Carmody's a father and three Sons, she had only been there a few weeks, the farm was several miles east of Kulin, Western Australia, the call went something like this, they are Shearing here and i have been talking to the shed boss and they need a shed hand, a junior shed hands job is to pick up the wool after the Shearer has finished shearing the sheep, Elaine my Sister thinks the shed boss is interested  in her, so she kidded him along and asked him if he could give me a job in the shed, she said to me i believe they pay good money, i found out later for a junior shed hand the money i received per week was 17 pound, i don't remember what i was thinking at the time after the telephone call but i decided i would give it a go. My Sister being the kind and thoughtful person that she is was always there to to help others. I didn't have many cloths, no proper shoes to work in a shearing shed, no blankets but what little gear i did have would have to do, then i came to the conclusion what am i going to use to pack the few cloths i do have, the only suitable thing i could find that resembled a case was a radio in a little wooden box covered with black vynal with a hinged lid, as the radio wasn't working, i thought this will have to do, so i took the radio out and the little box was my case. Train from Mt Barker and arrived at the Kulin Train Station in the middle of the night, old man Carmody picked me up, someone else was there i think it was Morrie, one of the Sons, Carmody's were one of the early settlers in Kulin, we drove to the farmhouse, a big brick building very solid, it was the original building built in the early settlement days. The shearers had already gone to bed, every thing was dark, I had heard weird stories about shearers and my imagination run wild, the twenty miles drive from the train Station to the farm, all these crazy thoughts were going through my head, I'm going to have to sleep on the wool, or in the wool shed on bags, but as it turned out Morrie said i could sleep in his brothers bed on the veranda as he was away for a few days, the next morning i got up a bit late, the shearers had already started work at seven thirty, After having breakfast with my Sister, the shed Boss came looking for me, i think the main reason, he was trying to get on with my sister, we walked over to the shed, it was all so new to me. My first day was hell, the shearers treated the board boys (Rousies) like shit i nealy gave up, that evening i spoke with my Sister and told her how the shearers swore and used all the F words, i had never heard a swear word up to that time, i was horrified, but later on myself working with the shearer's I was becoming just as good as them at swearing and still use the F word quite often, i have to be very conscious of what im saying when I'm with other people, especially when i get a bit agro about something. Previously my only experience with shearer's was on our land settlement Farm, once a year a shearer would come and shear our sheep, and he was bloody rough compared with shearers i had met and worked with in my later life in the Shearing Teams.
 Going back to the early years of my life, born in the Subiaco Childrens Hospital on 19th November 1941, Subiaco is a suburb of Perth the Capital city of Western Australia, I was one of eight children, third youngest from my Mothers first Marriage, Laurie, Elaine and myself, Mum remarried and had five more, three girls and two boys. Meryl, Colin, Jillian, Maureen and Ross. My Father had also remarried, and had a girl Sandra and boy Kimberly, i spent most of my life with my Mother and step father, My stepfather worked as a share farmer, during my younger life, we lived on many farms, throughout Western Australia, from what i can remember they were mostly good especially for us kids. Although we were a poor family i didn't think about money or where it came from or if we had enough to live, I didn't have many cloths, and seldom wore shoes, but we always had food on the table, i found out in later years Mum was always finding it difficult to keep us in food and clothing. at Christmas we always had presents, as hard up as we were. My step Father Jim we called him Pop would shoot kangaroos and Rabbits, one particular Farm we lived on in South Australia he would trap rabbits for a living and dry the skins to be sold to a trader who would pick them up about once a Month. Pop would set traps of an evening and i would walk around with him, wearing his long kaki ex army Coat, it was too big for me and almost touched the ground, some of the rabits had kittens (baby rabits) i would put them into the large pockets and take them home, at this time there were millions of rabbits in Australia. we also ate rabbits and kangaroos,  Mum made the best baked rabbit stew, Kangaroo tail soup, my favorit and Kangaroo steaks.  At thirteen years old on the farm at Perilup, the age where i was able to help around the Farm, my chores were to, chop the wood, drive the tractor, milk the cows, i also had a small vegetable garden, id dig a trench and empty the dunny into it for fertilizer, this wouldn't go too well in the city. My Mother, Pop and us kids lived on farms all over Western Australia, and for  short time in South Australia, that is another experience of my life i will write about in a later part of this story. Mum tallied up the places she lived while being married to Jim, was over 100, some of the towns we lived in that i can remember. Pingelly, Walgoorlin,  Moora, Mt. Barker, Perillup,  Perenjori my Mums home town, her father Bill Payne was a early settler in Perenjori. He cleared the farm with an axe and lived a very hard life, as most of the early settlers did. 
A short Story about a time i can remember living in Perenjori my Mothers Home town, i was probably about ten. My cousin Norman came to me and said lets go and get some wood, the wood most people used those days was malle roots from a short shrubby tree, most homes had stack's of them in there back yard, so we leave by the back fence, Norman pulled off a couple of pickets, we climbed through and headed across some vacant land with Norm's small rope drawn cart, we came to a picket fence at the back of some ones property, the same process pull off a couple of pickets and climb through, unbeknown to me at the time it was the local policeman's home, this didn't worry Norman he was up to this trick quite often, they wouldn't miss a few mallee roots in a large stack, as the picket fence behind the mallee roots were hidden, after loading the cart we replaced the pickets and headed home. 

The age of fourteen, living at Perilup on my Stepfathers Land settlement Farm.  our neibour recently moved onto a farm about two km down the road, he offered me a job driving a tractor, as he saw me driving the tractor from our Farm when a Fire was out of control in the area, plowing fire breaks around the neibours farms.
Plowing all day until late then I was on the tractor heading home across the paddock i had been plowing on his property and a stump got caught under the tractor and jacked it up and one of the large back wheels was air born, i had no hope of getting it off the stump, it was getting  on dusk and i should have been back at the Homestead of this farmer, as i didn't arrive back to the farm House and it was about 7pm he came looking for me, he had already had a Shower and was dressed in fancy cloths and Japanese Slippers, never seen by me before on a farm, well it was funny seeing him dressed like that walking around the tractor not knowing what to do, the ground was soft in places,  then all of a sudden his foot sunk in the soft ground up to his knee, he lost his slipper, well i laughed and my belly hurt with laughter, he was furious, and he could not see the funny side as i did.


I told the story about going to Tasmania and buying Sewing machines, and a caravan and going shearing with Anni and the baby in the Caravan, then getting the idea to start a business, as Anni made trousers for me, and other shearers wanting them the same. my idea to start a business making Shearers Trousers, we got a loan on a Home in Subiaco, 259 Roberts Road, it started in one of the  Rooms, we had already been to Melbourne and purchased the Machines, I built a large Table  it took up most of the room, we had boarders and survived on my low income as a Delivery driver, this business would be Mail Order same as Milro in Sydney, but I never dreamed it would become so big over the years, the first year we only turned over about 200 Pounds, the Accountant said to give it up, but I persisted and together we continued on, detrimental to our Marriage, I did not realize this until years later, the next year was about triple the turnover, i bought Material as we got orders, every order was a godsend, I perched Electoral Books and found every shearer listed in Western Australia, I sent them an Order form, and slowly the orders were coming, the Business was across the road from the Subiaco Football Oval, and the shearers would call in on the way to or from the Footy, it was like a family business, most thought we wouldn’t survive as Denis Ryan from Milro Mail Order Co. was too big, I never considered taking business off him and our Trousers were $1.00 more in cost than his, as I didn’t want to tread on his toes, and I believed if our price was higher we must be making a profit, not having any experience in Business.

 The Business got bigger and I did not know until years later Anni was detesting it all this time, but only wanted to make amends for what she had done to me, and screwed my life. She got very dominating as she was a strong woman and held this over me knowing, i needed her to do the sewing, we could not afford to employ another Machinist in the early stage of the Business, I had lost a lot of my strength from when I was a Shearer but not my determination.

Once a week I would go to the local Hotel for a relief from the House and Business, some times standing at the bar alone tears would roll down my face, I believe later it must have been depression, I dedicated my life to building the Business, more than I should have as my Son Lance got neglected, he was a loaner and would play in the dirty ground out the back of the shop when we moved the business from the Home, a kind hearted man Neil Barber bought him some sand to play in as I could not afford it. I believe being neglected effected his life to this day, I should have spent more time with him, but the business always took up my time, he was a beautifull baby and young boy but there was a problem, being alone too much i did not understand until later, tell you more about Lance later.

The business was getting bigger and there was a bigger work load on Anni, i tried to encourage her to employ a girl to help but she refused and continued on doing the sewing on her own, she was spending more time at the shop than at home, Lance was being neglected by his Mother, then we had to  move into other premises and it finally became too much for her so finally she agreed to employing another lady to help her with the sewing, I was helping with the Cutting, it wasn’t just sewing as we had a retail shop at the front of the small factory and also mail Order I run the shop and mail Order side of the Business, and did everything apart from sewing.

Anni would spend many nights up to twelve midnight and sometimes to one am in the morning, the tension and stress built up on both our lives, what stressed me most I heard her telling the shearers she was working till 12-1 am and they would ask her where was Ian (me) she would say he was home looking after lance, she run me down many times, to the Shearers, as she was trying to take over the whole business, and it made me look weak and I lost face, this also made me very resentful and our relationship as man and Wife deteriorated, it was very difficult working together with her, our sex life was finished she kept telling the Shearers (Customers) I was Impute’nt,  I lost interest in her and started looking at other Ladies.

As Lance got a little older he and Anni had trips away on a Cruise to New Zealand and several overseas to Germany, they bonded and i felt she was distancing him from me, as i would have to stay and look after the Business, and Cutting the trousers for the Machinist's. 

Yes the inevitable  happened ,i had a relationship with a girl eighteen year, i was twenty nine, she turned me on like you would not believe, she could see what was  wrong with my Marriage and came to the rescue, I was not Impudent, and there was no guilt on my part or having any regret as this girl gave me life, I started to feel good about myself. eventually our relationship was exposed and all hell broke Anni made it look like I was to blame for every-thing,  Anni  run me down to our Customers and staff, and made me out to be a monster. This continued on throughout our marriage and she also run me down to our Son Lance as he got older.

I saw a funny instant one day on a Saturday morning when the Shearers would come to the shop, Anni was telling this Shearer about combs and she had too much to say about the shearing Industry  she only knew what I had told her, but she would always try to take over the conversation from me, well this Shearer put her back in her place he said to her what the Fuck do you know about Shearing, she took off.
 Later we agreed she could look after the Factory and i had control of the Shop and the business, it was my management that turned the business into a gold mine
The Business continued for 25 years and was very successful, one year I remember it turned over 2,500,000 that was just a year or two before I finally went into Voluntary Liquidation, because of a Marriage break up,  Anni  got the Lions share $350,000 and a Unit in Scarborough, I had to borrow 260.000 then a recession we had to have by Paul Keating, and interest going to 23%, but no regrets I got my life back.

We divorced a few years earlier, I left our Home in Karrinyup, 49 Jeanes Rd the one I designed and built over four years, and on weekends and through the night. I left her and moved into a Unit for a couple of years, it was heartbreaking, haveing to be away from lance and after all I had put into the marriage and Business, she wanted out and demanded too much, the Barrister said I was giving her too much but I could not  spend time and Money stressing over fighting her, the friends we had together were not many but they stop being friends with me, looking back they were fuck-witts not real friends, no loss they are the losers.

The Home i Built in Karrinyup WA Australia
This all happened after my Divorce and I took total control of the business, I went to China to buy dungarees, trying to survive as the bank interest was about 22%.
Anni and Lance started a Business identical to "Westline" they pintched all my Information from my Computer and my customer list, one of the Machinist Pauleen Caplan left me and went to work for them. she had a good knowledge of all the Factory.
They cut the price of the trousers and and did every thing they could possibly do to break me. It Did.