John’s Experiences in 1940s and 50s

From: Keith Hamley

Date: Sat, Jul 2, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Subject: “some info re your Dad”

To: jennifer stubbs

Jennifer,

The following information may help you with what you are doing regarding your Dad.

It is pretty sketchy but nevertheless it refers mainly to the early times when I first met John around the mid 1940s when we were both in the Surfers Paradise Surf Life Saving Club or what was then called the South Coast, now the Gold Coast.

In 1943 I was working at the Vacuum Oil Company in Brisbane as a shipping clerk and was responsible for the preparation of all of the bills of lading for the transport of packed products (oil lubricants etc) via coastal ships which were run by James Patrick and Company who had their Brisbane shipping terminal on the Brisbane River just down from the Customs House.

That is where I first met John who was working as a clerk with James Patrick and Company.

At that time I was interested in joining the Surfers Paradise Surf Club and by coincidence so was John.

John joined a few months before me and we both earned our bronze medallions within a year of one another.

Getting to the coast in those days was quite an adventure although being young it did not concern us.

We used to knock off work at 12 noon on a Saturday morning (44 hour weeks then, no 36 hour with rostered days off ) then get a tram to South Brisbane station and board the 12.15pm train for Southport train, I meant steam train of course. Halfway on this trip, the train pulled up at Bethania Station for a cup of railway tea and a scone or ham sandwich both of which were probably made days beforehand and were very stale by the time we got them.

Then it was on to Southport station and then on to a bus for Surfers Paradise.

The American Army were still in Brisbane at that time and completely unaware of the dangers of surfing – quite often they would get into trouble in the surf and had to be rescued along wit their girlfriends.

John was a very good swimmer and was a member of the Surfers Paradise R&R team ( rescue and resicusication) which became Australian champions in about the 1946/7 period.

John and I became quite disgusted with Surfers Paradise Club which comprised mainly members of the Souths Football Club, and so we left the club. John went on to Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park and I went to Northcliffe.

At the end of 1949 John and I decided to go on a cruise to Cairns on the ship Manunda which had not long back during the second world war, operating as a hospital ship.

That was a great trip for a couple of twenty plus year olds.We came back by Queensland Rail stopping off at Proserpine and eventually ending up on South Mole Island for a week. Great time!

It wasn’t long after that John went to England and I was posted to Cloncurry with the same oil company where John’s father, Eric, worked.

And so, although we corresponded, I didn’t see John until he returned from England and was married to your Mum. From then on we kept in fairly regular touch and I guess you know the rest.

Jennifer, I have dribbled on and don’t quite know if this the sort of material that you wanted. It is pretty much all that I have got for you. I hope it helps,

regards from all of us,

Keith, June and Stephen

1944-ithaca028 1944-ithaca029 john surf comp Scan 1 surfers lifesaving club c 1946 or 47 dad on the left

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