A shot in the dark?

BBQ

The photograph was taken from within the Sydney building that I worked in the mid 1980’s.
On this particular day we were having a lunchtime BBQ, partly to farewell the person in the Arab costume, (he is at the BBQ), he was being transferred to the Middle East.

Between the building in which I worked, and the other building that can be seen was a public road – we were expanding fast.

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The windows above the staff are part of the mezzanine floor, and this is where I worked. I was not responsible for the daily running of the Sydney operation, but I liked to watch the processing of the consignments. When the above was taken it was a presentation for a sales person’s birthday.

I had been working in Sydney for some months and had settled into my new position and was enjoying the whole experience and regional responsibility. 

I think it was a Thursday, which was pay day, that it happened. I was stretching my legs as I walked the length of the mezzanine floor and stopped in front of my desk.
I glanced down as the pay van was about to leave after handing over the staff wages to the paymaster. At that time, the nonmanagerial staff were paid in cash and the paymasters office was on the ground floor. All appeared in order, so I sat down at my desk. As soon as I sat down the robbery began.

To get everyone’s attention the robber fired a revolver, and the bullet went through the glass window in front of my desk, over my head and hit the air-conditioning pipes. The bullet drilled a hole through the glass window, which did not shatter.
The bullet bounced off the solid pipe and landed on my desk!
A few seconds earlier when I was looking down on to the operations floor the bullet would have hit me in the head.

Nobody was hurt during the robbery and the bandits escaped with the staff wages. 
The police arrived and took statements from everyone in the vicinity, including myself as the police removed the spent bullet. 
Some week later six or eight of us (I cannot remember the exact number) were required to attend court and testify against the accused – the police had caught the gunman and his accomplice. Of course, we made the newspapers, but the Company had already switched paying the staff via the banking system.  Paying in cash was a hangover from the origin of the Company when things were a lot smaller and easier to control.

 Sometime later I was asked to be in an advert for selling international newspapers – grey hair turning white opens a few doors.

newsfast

I do not know how many newspapers they sold using the above advert, in any . .

Reverse

Above is the reverse side of the advert explaining the details of Newsfast, basically whatever newspaper that you wished to receive Newsfast could supply.

This trip in to advertising caused a small demand. . . only from TNT Skypak of course . . . . 

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Later the Company decided that they wanted a TV/cinema advert to illustrate transporting documents, via OBC, (On board courier) from London to Sydney.

There was a script of sorts, but the pleasant thing was that the Company had hired a professional film crew and we were out on the harbour in a large private ‘cruiser’, something like the one below, but not this one as it was about thirty years ago. 

Boat

There were four Company staff members, including myself and the film crew. I was to play the General Manager of the Sydney company, the Company’s financial controller played the finance man, and we had one of the female staff to play the secretary, but I cannot remember the fourth person’s position.
None of us had done any acting or film work in the past so to get us relaxed at 9.30 am the film ‘director’ opened a bottle of Champaign, and after a couple of glasses we were all relaxed!
We cruised around the harbour bridge area zig zagging in and out of the bridge’s shadow depending on the shot and the position of the sun.

www.rarehistoricalphotos.com

As the General Manager I was obliged to use the latest piece of executive equipment to show how important I was – a mobile phone like the one shown above. How things have changed.

A few weeks later we had the ‘Premier’ of the advert, which obviously concentrated on how TNT Skypak could satisfy the London client’s requirements.
With shots of the Sydney courier driving to the client’s office and the ‘Manager’ (me) asking for more speed of our cruiser (shots of the harbour bridge) as I had just received a telephone call (see above picture) that the urgent document had arrived early . . . also in the advert were shots of planes, and the processing system within the Company’s Sydney premises.

The four new acting sensations were just a flash in the pan, but the Champaign was very welcome.

I have never seen the advert since that ‘Premier’ showing, nor could I find it on the Internet. Perhaps it has been censored for being too corny.

A Shot In The Dark  

A thousand sail of the line.

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” we had the satisfaction of finding the finest harbour in the world, in which a thousand sail of the line may ride in the most perfect security…”
— Governor Arthur Phillip, 15 May 1788.

Today we know it as Sydney Harbour – the above picture shows North Head as we sail in to the harbour from the Pacific ocean.

dsc07398rSouth of the Heads

dsc07402rStill south of the Heads but with the zoom I managed to capture the ‘coat hanger’ in the distance.

dsc07403rEntering the Heads

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.South Heads with the city in the background.

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Entering the harbour  . .

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The harbour in front of us and we still have a long way to go to our berth.

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Shows our wake as we passed in to the harbour. The sun is chasing us up the harbour.

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As we passed under the bridge I had the sun hiding behind the funnel – it was going to be a beautiful day. and couldn’t be more perfect for us to enter Sydney Harbour.

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Lunar Park fairground looked happy to see us.

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The inner harbour area as we swung round to go alongside, which meant the end of the holiday.

Sea Fever

I was fortunate to attend HMS Conway, which was a training ship (see picture below) to supply officers for the merchant and Royal Navy – most us went in to the merchant service.

The college began in 1859, and I attended ‘Conway’ between 1960 and 1962. During my time we lived in barracks because the old ship had run aground and broken her back in 1953 while being towed through the Swillies, which is a very dangerous stretch of water  between the North Wales coast and the Isle on Anglesey. She was on her way to dry dock in Birkenhead, but never made it.  . . .

Conway-01After leaving Conway in 1962, I went to sea, and my first ship was a tanker, the Ellenga, with a gross tonnage of 24,246 gt. At that time she was quite a large vessel.

Ellenga

Tomorrow we sail from Sydney harbour aboard the Diamond Princess, which is just under 116,000 dwt and nearly five times the size of my first ship.

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The above was taken last September, (2015), and the small yellow / green ship is a Sydney harbour ferry. The black vessel is a tanker bunkering the Diamond Princess moored alongside the Sydney Cruise Terminal, where she will be tomorrow when we join her.

For many of us who went to sea as young men (I was eighteen on my first trip) never lose the love of the ocean. One old Conway, John Masefield, captured the feeling of the sea when he wrote Sea Fever.

Sea Fever

By John Masefield.  HMS Conway 1891-94.

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

Punduastorm
South China Sea in 1967 at the start of a typhoon.
Cargo ship ‘Pundua’, built 1945, 7,295 gt
I think I prefer
Diamond Princess, built 2004, 116,000 gt
Tomorrow, thanks to our daughter & son-in-law, a hire limo will transport us for the expected hour’s run to the cruise terminal. Our check-in is 11.30 am, so all being well we will have lunch on board.