Posted to Brisbane when I was in the Australian Army, one day in 1969 myself and a couple of other lads found our way to New Farm Park Ferry Terminal, a light motor tug was going by on the river towing an odd shaped industrial something or other that had in Big letters "Cairncross Dock" hereinafter CXD, I wondered what could it be .. I was to discover it was the Dry Dock gate called the "caison" being conveyed to South Brisbane Dock for service.
Following discharge from the Army in 1972, I heard employment might be gained on the Brisbane Waterfront if I went to the Painters and Dockers Union rooms located at Kangaroo Point adjacent to the shipyard and "put my name down."
I did that and secured a couple days employment at Peters Slip just down the road in Baildon Street Kangaroo Point, coincidentally on the Breaksea Spit lightship seen in the insert.
The slipway opened in 1873 I was working there in the 1973 Centenary Year, it closed down in 1987 after the owner committed suicide and his heirs sold the property for real estate .. the Slipway Supervisor sent me to the workshop where TB was working on his car and told me to ask him for the key to the store he had taken that morning.
He had a piece of plywood with a hole bored thru it and was fixing a piece of light metal around the hole, I asked what him what was he making and he told me he was gonna fix a vacuum cleaner hose to the metal, and that the other end went onto the exhaust pipe of his car, he gave me the key and I went back to work .. the next day when I went in the Super who was his bro in law told me he had suicided overnite.
Work was still a bit patchy there so went to work as an Ironworker at Evans Deaken Ship Repair Facility adjacent to CXD where I made good money as a boilermaker's offsider on shift work, then I went to AUSN another Shipping Company located at CXD where I worked in the rigging gang and obtained a grounding in ship's rigging.
I kept at it for a couple years until 1974 I was still in touch with the P&D's Union and intermittently gained employment throughout that period as an "outsider" in union parlance an "outie," in which capacity I had to pay 20 cents a day union fees .. the union ppl told me the Evans Deaken Shipyard needed scaffolders.
That if I were to enroll at a beginner's course which were held fairly regularly at various TAFE locations in Brisbane, they would put me into the yard as a learner which would be the first step to full union membership, I did all that and went into the union while employed in the shipyard as a scaffolder in December that year.
Whatever anyone wants to say the Queensland Government then under the tutelage of Joh Bjelke Petersen put its best foot forward by financing the upgrade of the site which was completed in 1972 .. giving the union full range was not in the interests of anyone, insofar as compulsory union membership which gave thugs the right to come onto the job and demand you pay them money to go to work, was the death knell of industrial trade unionism.