Have passport will travel


As soon as we had the required time living in Australia we applied for Australian citizenship in Melbourne.
It was planned for us to take the oath and to attend a citizen ceremony until Skypak asked me to move to Sydney, which put an end to our citizenship plans in Melbourne.
We had to start all over again in Sydney once we were settled into our own house, rather than the rented accommodation in which we lived for about six months. 

Maureen & I were interviewed to make sure we were suitable citizens and after the interview we were asked to swear allegiance to Australia, and to Queen Elizabeth the second of Australia. 
Being pedantic I could not help myself and said that Queen Elizabeth was Queen Elizabeth the first of Australia, not Queen Elizabeth the second, because Australia had not been discovered during Queen Elizabeth the first’s reign.
Being a smart alec at such a time, was not my best move – 

‘Do you wish to become an Australian?’ I was asked, which I answered,


‘Then swear the oath’ – I swore the oath.

The above picture is just the top part of my certificate there is more, but I just wanted the coat of arms and my name. 

All new citizens were ‘processed’ as detailed above, but it is not until Australia Day, 26th January, do we attend a ceremony to be presented with our certificate. This takes place in the applicant’s local area and the dignitary who officiates at the presentation might be the local Federal or State politician or in our case was our local President of our local Council (Mayor).
There were a lot of us who were becoming Australian citizens, from a mix of races and backgrounds. The Shire President (Mayor), who had a Scottish accent, gave a speech of welcome and Maureen and I had a problem understanding some of the President’s speech and when I looked around there were several blank faces, particularly amongst the Asian and African new Australians. The President’s accent was quite strong.


The family with the President of Sutherland Shire.

After the ceremony our native-born Australian friends had a party for us and presented us with a box of Australian items considering that we were now Australian.
Australian beer, Vegemite, Arnot’s biscuits, Koon cheese etc.    


and of course, a homemade cake.

I had exchanged . . .

            UK passport



Oz passport

Oz stamped

nothing had changed because passport control love to use their stamps . . .

Both Australia and the UK have historically strong links so dual nationality is not a problem for both countries.
When I travel I always carry both passports because certain third countries favour Australia over the UK and visa-versa e.g a visa to visit Vietnam is free for a British passport holder, and about $70 to $90 for an Australian passport holder, so dual nationality has a cost benefit.
Before I became an Australian citizen I travelled around the Pacific Islands, Hong Kong & the United States on my British passport.
After I became an Australian I travelled as an Australian to the same destinations and many other destinations without a problem.
I must admit that arriving in the UK on a British is easier and quicker with a British passport than an Australian passport holder, all due to the UK being a member of the EEC. 
It will be interesting to see what happens now that the UK has left the EEC. 

I had hardly got my feet under the table at Skypak (now TNT Skypak) that I was offered the operations manager’s position running the UK.
I turned the job down because it had taken us two years to migrate, and I was happy with the Australian life style.



January 1986

Sydney time . . .

Before the sale of our house in Melbourne was finalised, I was required to fly to Sydney each Monday morning and stay in the airport until close of business on Friday evening, after which I would fly back to Melbourne.
At that time, the hotel near the airport was the Hilton, and I became so familiar with their menu that I was able to order an evening meal without studying the menu.
It sounds an exciting life, but laptops had not been invented, nor the mobile phone, and the city was an expensive taxi ride away because the rail link had not been built and buses did not stop anywhere near the hotel. I read a lot of books.

The above picture shows the current hotel which is the Novotel / Mecure Hotel, which is in the Accor Group of hotels.
The building has also been a Holiday Inn hotel, but the building is the same as I remember thirty-five years ago.

The area now known as Walli Creek was an industrial area in 1985 and was part of Arncliffe until redevelopment started and the area that was redeveloped became Walli Creek after the creek of the same name.

Web capture_19-5-2021_1573_www.google.com.au

From industry to . . .


What a change of view from my stay in the Hilton.
The picture is from the current hotel’s web site.

As the time for moving from Melbourne became imminent the Company flew Maureen to Sydney for a long weekend, which we used to find a house to rent for about six months while we looked around for a house to buy.
I asked my colleagues for suggestions as to which suburb to consider living and perhaps buying in, the overwhelming suggestion was Sutherland Shire, because it was ‘beachy’, on a railway line, close to the airport, but not too close, and affordable. The river scene at the start of my blog is of the river about a hundred metres from my house. I cannot see it from the house, but the view is just around the corner.     plumber-sutherland-shire

The picture above is of Sutherland Shire beach in the suburb of Cronulla in Sutherland Shire, about thirty minutes from where I live. Cronulla is on the ocean, not Botany Bay and Sutherland Shire is known locally as just, ‘The Shire’.
It was called such well before J. R. R. Tolkien’s (1916-1971) fictional Middle-earth’s ‘Shire’, described in The Lord of the Rings.

Sutherland Shire is named after Forby Sutherland who was a member of the crew of HMS Endeavour, Captain James Cook in command.
Sutherland died of consumption on the 2nd of May 1770 and was the first British subject to die in Australia and the first European to die in New South Wales.

Captain Cook arrived in Australia on the 29th of April 1770, and after Sutherland’s death he named a point of land at the eastern end of Botany Bay, ‘Sutherland Point’.


Captain Cook’s monument at Kurnell, Sutherland Shire 

We found a house to rent in The Shire and later bought in The Shire, and still live in the house that we bought in 1985.  
The house we bought is smaller than the Melbourne house because Sydney prices are higher, so the dollar had to go further.

In 1985 the population of the Shire was about 170,000 and the drive to work took me about thirty minutes. Today with a population of around 230,000 the journey would be a lot longer.

My time at work had been taken up with ‘finding my feet’ and organising a standard procedure of operation in the six Australian offices and the three New Zealand Offices.
I also had to make myself known to our network of agents across the Pacific south of the Equator. My only communication facility with the agents was via fax or phone.  

Papua New Guinea, PNG  same time zone as Sydney

New Caledonia, New Cal  the flag in the 1980’s, time zone plus one hour 

Vanuatu, Vanuatu  time zone plus one hour

Solomon Islands, solomon time zone plus one hour

Nauru, Nauru time zone plus two hours

Kiribati,  Kiribati  (pronounced Kiri-bass) the old name was the Gilbert Islands – time zone plus two hours 

Tuvalu,  Tuvalu the old name was Ellis Is., time zone plus two hours

Cook Is, cook time zone minus twenty hours 

Fiji, fiji  time zone plus two hours

Western Samoa, Samoa time zone minus twenty-one hours in the 1980’s and 90’s. 
In 2011 on the 29th December Western Samoa cancelled the 30th December and ‘restarted’ on the 31 st December.
By doing this they ‘moved’ the date line because most of their business was with New Zealand, Australia and Asia and they wished to be in a similar time zone. Today W Samoa is plus three hours from Sydney.

American Samoa, A Samoa time zone minus twenty-one hours.
Can you imagine doing business between W. Samoa and American Samoa today, the flight between the two countries is about twenty minutes, but different days. 

Tonga, Tonga time zone plus three hours

Tahiti, Tahiti  in French Polynesia. Time zone minus twenty-hours

I had a small problem when I wanted to speak to our agent in W. Samoa, American Samoa, Cook Is. or Tahiti because when it was Monday in Sydney it was Sunday in their country, so our working week was a day short – unless I spoke to them from home on my Saturday, which was their Friday. 

In New Caledonia & Tahiti our agent had to be bi-lingual in English and French because I could not speak French – which is why the original title of my blog was to be ‘I’ll never go abroad’, being the answer, that I gave my French teacher when I was thirteen after failing a French exam.
She asked me how I proposed to speak to anyone when I went to France. I still cringe at my answer.   

On the move again. . .

Con note

It was 1982 and things were ticking over nicely, but I was unhappy with our consignment notes that we handed out to our customers. The above example was produced as continuous stationery, partly to make the production easier and partly to maximise the stowage of new consignment notes into neat piles once the box was opened. We would supply our larger customers with boxes of stationery so that they could share the blank consignments notes out to various departments.

It was in late 1982 that I was introduced to Alec who I met through a mutual friend. Alec was a computer programmer and had recently created a program for Melbourne transport system. He was ex RAF and trained in the field of electronics before migrating to Australia. 


I bought a TRS 80 for my son & I to play with, I liked the very primitive strategy games, and my son liked the ping pong games.
The above is not the exact model but it gives an idea of how ‘primitive’ computers were in the early 1980’s.
E-mail, as we know it today, had not been invented and the internet was still in the future. 

Within a short time, I came to realise what could be done with a ‘computer’ in Skypak.

On meeting Alec and speaking with him about the possibilities for computers I realised that I had met someone who understood completely some of my daft ideas.
I had been puzzling how to pre-print consignment notes with the customer’s details already completed in the shipper’s field of the consignment note.
To make life easier for our customer to use us would help retain that customer, even at a higher overall rate than our competitors.   

I had considered an electric typewriter, but this would require a staff member to insert a new consignment note to preprint a client’s address on each note, which was too labour intensive and uneconomical.

I bounced a few ideas off Alec and explained about the continuous run stationery and the positioning of the consignment note every time we wished to print. Alec made notes and took sample consignment notes away with him.  

At that time, we had a limited computer system in the office. It was used mainly for communicating with head office in Sydney via a dedicated telephone line.
It had a printer attached to print pre-alerts of inbound shipments so that our staff could meet the aircraft on arrival. The office was about a twenty-minute drive to the airport. The system was similar to an early fax machine. 

Alec returned a few days later with a machine and a 5 1/4-inch floppy disc.


For those who do not know what a 5 1/4-inch disk looks like , the above is an example.
Alec attached his small machine to the inhouse computer screen and inserted his floppy disk into his attachment and up popped a layout of a consignment note – he then typed in the detail of our address and inserted several consignment note in to the attached printer that usually typed out pre-alerts.
This time it typed out consignment notes with the same address on each . . .
This might seem a small thing to have created, but for us in the early 1980’s it was a huge step forward.
We began to produce pre-printed consignment notes for our major customers.

Within days I was receiving faxes from our overseas offices who wanted to know how the pre-printed consignment notes were produced.
Because I did not own the simple program (simple compared to today’s world) and had not yet come to agreement with Alec, I told our overseas offices that I would pre-print consignment notes on behalf of their customers for one Australian cent per consignment note. . . . 

Within days I had a steady revenue stream that went to the profit line of the Melbourne office.
It did not take long for head office to phone me and ask why I was using so many consignment notes from our stationery stock, yet our shipments had not increased . . . once again the accounts department had picked that something odd was going on in Melbourne!

The next system was to create a POD (proof of delivery) system that recorded the details of each shipment, and in particular the date & time of delivery and the person’s name who signed for the item. At that time, it was all completed manually, and we would file the delivery sheet in case it was required in the future.
Now I wanted Alec to create what we now call a data base so that it would be far faster to find the information that go through reams of paper files. I tried but could not find a way of making this system into a profit line.

While all this was going on we still had to sell our services, and for me it was an exciting and busy time.

In 1983 the sales manager obtained the forms to apply for the Governor of Victoria’s Export Award, which was an annual event. The award went to a company for outstanding international success in the professional business services including legal, accounting, administration, and support services.
We spent hours refining the ‘pitch’ of our application.

When the awards came out it was a great surprise to all of us that we had won the award and in addition we were the first service industry to win this award. Traditionally it was a manufacturing company that would win such an award. Perhaps it was because we were one hundred percent focused on the export market – we did not offer a domestic courier service, only international.


Being the State manager, I made the front cover of Business, but could not have done so if it had not been for the support of all the staff. The actual award was presented at Government House by His Excellency the Governor.

In March 1981 Maureen and I bought land in Sunbury on which we would build our house.


The day the first bricks arrived on site we drove to the site to make sure that the brisk were the bricks that we wanted. Our children in the above picture are now 47 (daughter) and 45 (son) how time flies. 

house 1

The house as it was in 1985 – we still had the Holden Station wagon, which can just be seen – this was Maureen’s car. The building behind the car is a ‘granny flat’ a complete unit for Maureen’s parents – completely independent from our house, but its position allowed us to keep an eye on her parents. Life was good and we were happy living in Sunbury.  

Sometimes success can be a trojan horse – creating short cuts in the operational area and forcing down our international transport costs caused the GM to ask me to move to Sydney and take over the Regional Operational job.

This meant that I would have the responsibility for the operation of the company from Perth in W. Australian to Tahiti in Polynesia.

I did not want the job because I was happy in Melbourne, as was Maureen and the children. 

I offered to do the job working from Melbourne, but this was rejected because I would be too close to my replacement and this might cause problems.
Plus, the position was a head office position, which required all the head office staff to be in proximity of each other. 

While I was in ‘limbo’ – the house was up for sale and the new manager had taken over my old position, and the Company opened a satellite office not far from the main Melbourne office to allow me to write an airfreight manual, because the Company was being offered larger and larger sized consignments that were too large for our onboard courier system and they required a standard system of operation.

Writing the manual was an interesting task because I did not have to worry about the day to day activities of the Melbourne office, I had other worries . .  

OIP (1)

Life revolved around research, coffee, cigarette’s and a keyboard

I did have a side trip to Hong Kong, because while I was still manager, we gained a large movement of annual reports from one of the major banks in Melbourne.
The banks were obliged by law to publish their annual report and to send a copy to every share holder however large or small – posting was expensive, because many of their shareholders lived overseas.
The reports would be printed in Hong Kong, so the Company sent me to oversee the procedure and arrange the global distribution for about 77,000 shareholders. The total weight was 6,600 kilos (6.5 tons).
It was an interesting exercise and I was there for about a week because the law required that the reports had to enter the postal system on the same day – we air freighted the reports to our offices in the UK, US, Singapore, Australia, N.Z, Japan, S. Africa to name just a few destinations, with instructions to post on a particular day so that we could prove the date of posting globally.
We invoiced the bank for a lot less than it would have cost to post the reports from a single origin place such as Australia or Hong Kong.
The service we offered was called Mailfast and I think it is still available, it used to be called Multi-mail, and thanks to the internet if you do a search on either name the result will show details of multi-e-mails, how time have changed.  


I first visited Hong Kong in 1963, it had that feel of excitement, and that feeling was still there in the mid 80’s. I took the above photograph and the one below during the business trip.



Hong Kong – in happier times, mid 1980’s

A few weeks later I was in London for a global meeting of ops managers.
Maureen rang me – she had sold the house – I could no longer drag my feet –
Sydney here we come. 


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