The leaving . . . .

sea

Over the sea

We put the house with a Real Estate agent this time and on the 20th March 1980 we sold it again, but this time to another family.

The problem was that they would not sign the contract until they had sold their house – which was understandable when mortgage rates were at 15%.

We had six months left before we had to be in Australia, the pressure was mounting. 

Time passed quickly and the second buyer backed out. We had plenty of interested people, but no firm offers because of the interest rate.

Finally, a couple who were moving from London signed on the 22nd July 1980 to buy the house.
The husband was moving from London at his company’s expense, so he was in a better position than all of the others.

In early August I booked our flights to Australia – our flight was Manchester/ London/ Bahrain/Singapore/ Sydney/ Melbourne. 

Tatten Arms

12th August 1980, we attended our farewell ‘do’ at the Tatton Arms, and my friends at work presented us with some fine presents including a ship in a bottle and a cut-glass decanter. 

goodbye

After the night in the pub I was unemployed.

The following week we did the rounds on Merseyside of saying goodbye to our friends and relatives, which include my Mother and Maureen’s Mum & Dad. An emotional time for all.

The legal side of the sale of our house was dragging on and on, and in the end, I had to leave power of attorney with our solicitor because I could not change the flight details, or allow a delay because we had to be in Australia by the 20th September 1980.

British_Airways_Boeing_747-200_Silagi-1

As it happened, we arrived safely on the 4th September and our visa was validated so we were now permanent residents of Australia, but with limited cash because the legal process had still to take its course. We took a few days to get over the trip and to settle the children.

Now I had to find a job.

By the 17 September I had been offered three jobs – so much for being unemployable.
Prior to flying out I had contacted the BOAC (now British Airways) cargo rep in Melbourne, and he was kind enough to check a few things for me, which helped me to gain interviews & a job offer from TAA (Trans-Australian Airlines) and Ansett Airlines, both in their cargo departments. 
I also spoke to the Manager of a company called Skypak International who were looking for an Operations Manager. 
I was invited for an interview at 88 Miller St. in West Melbourne, at 1145 am, a strange time I thought for an interview.
I duly arrived at the appointed time and the Manager and Administration Manager were waiting and asked if I had eaten lunch.

I said no, and they said come on then we will chat over lunch.

Lunch was a short drive from the office which was in a restaurant that was part of an old Australian pub.

The food was particularly good, as were the drinks.  . . . . .

It turned out that the manager was an ex Royal New Zealand navy officer, who on leaving the navy moved into car rental management and then to Skypak. The administration manager had been a bank manager for many years before running a newsagent and then becoming the Skypak’s administration manager for Victoria. 

The one thing that they had in common was a desire to expand the company, but they were unsure of the international process. They asked questions and I gave my answers, but I could tell that they were unsure of my answers because of their limited airline and transport background.

The lunch was great and when I arrived home Maureen asked how things had gone, and I said I was not at all that sure, but I did enjoy the interview, it was the best I’d ever had . . . fortunately I was not driving a car but had used the train. 

The next morning, which was a Thursday, I received a phone call from Skypak to offer me the job as their Operations Manager for Victoria, I accepted, because it sounded a lot more interesting than the other two jobs that I had been offered, and the salary was a lot better than my salary in the UK.

The land of opportunity had proved itself to me.

I asked when I should start, being a Thursday I expected them to say the following Monday, but they asked me to start the following day (Friday). I was very pleased to accept. 

To get to the office I went by train and then tram and arrived at 9.00 am to be shown into a small office where I met a supervisor reading a newspaper, and Helen, a Tongan lady, who was the office secretary.

The family and I felt at home very quickly, and soon became Australian.

Ringway

Manchester Ship Cana_2_5882501

Manchester Ship Canal in the early 1900’s.

Over the years Manchester had a number airports, the first being built near the Manchester Ship Canal, and it was called Trafford Park Aerodrome. It opened in 1911 and closed in 1918.

This was followed by Alexandra Park Aerodrome, which can be seen below.

Alexandra_Park_Aerodrome_1923

Manchester’s second airport 1918 – 1924 –
there isn’t any trace of the airport left because it has been built over for housing, and a main road was built at the eastern part of the site.

Woodford Aerodrome or Manchester Woodford Aerodrome came next, which was a former private aerodrome for Avro aircraft manufacturing. This company built the

Anson

Anson

Lancaster

The Lancaster bomber

Vulcan

The Vulcan bomber just to name three famous aircraft from this company.

The aerodrome was expanded in the 1930’s and after the war the company was bought by Hawker Siddeley, and years later became part of British Aerospace.

In the meantime, Manchester created a municipal airport called Wythenshawe in 1929, which was the first municipal airport in the UK.

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Wythenshawe Aerodrome

This airport was always only temporary and only lasted a year.

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What Wythenshawe Aerodrome looks like today.

The penultimate airport was Barton Aerodrome or City Airport Manchester.

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Four grass runways, 9.00 am to 8.oo pm operation, and this airport is still open today, and all the original buildings are now ‘protected’ because they are grade two listed buildings, which are often used as setting for films & TV.

As this airport was opened in 1930 another airport was being considered, and construction began in 1935 and completed in 1938. The airport was located near a small parish called Ringway.

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Ringway Chapel

Ringway in Cheshire has a recorded history going back to 1173, and the first time the chapel was mentioned was in 1515. The chapel was used during the English civil war 1642-1651.

In 1776 the original chapel was demolished and replaced with a new red brick building. In 1863 Ringway chapel became Ringway Parish church, and in 1894 it was demolished and rebuilt and consecrated in 1895.

The airport is still referred to as Ringway by locals, and when I worked there it was called Ringway, but when dealing with people overseas we called  it Manchester Airport.
The airport official changed its name from Ringway to Manchester Airport (MAN) in 1954.

During the war the airport was known as RAF Ringway.

The hanger / warehouse where BOAC cargo was located (which is where I worked) used to be the training hanger for RAF Ringway, where they trained parachutists during WW2.
I’ve read that 60,000 soldiers were trained, in this warehouse / hanger, to be parachutist.
The troops came not just from the UK, but Poland, Canada and other allied countries.

Parachute_Training_at_Ringway_Art.IWMARTLD5635

I found the above on the internet, which illustrates how they trained the recruits in the basics of parachuting.

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As far as I can make out by using the internet, I think the hanger where I  worked is now the check-in area for Ryanair and KLM. The airport has completely changed since I left in 1980.
At least I was able to find the pubs on Google maps that we used frequent . . .

airport pub

The Airport Pub – which we only visited very occasionally, because it was very close to work, and noisy due to the aircraft, but I note that the pub has now made the noise an attraction . . . .  

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Back garden of the Airport Pub . . . 

Tatton ArmsThe Tatton Arms
Close to the airport for a quick lunch time pint and a pickled egg, the picked eggs were very good.

ship inn 01

The Ship Inn was further away from the airport than the Tatton Arms, and it had a  different ‘atmosphere’ altogether. 

ship-history2

The Ship Inn dates back 350 years and used to be a store house for manure until the farmer started to brew beer.
The wisteria plant that grows outside is claimed to be 260 years old.

I started this post with a picture of the Manchester ship canal, which was opened in 1894, 134 years after the wisteria was planted . . . . 

wisteria

Just a reminder of wisteria in bloom . . it is not The Ship Inn wisteria.