My first experience of working aboard ship came with the offer of a "Christmas Trip", a voyage as a supernumerary, signed on and working as a cadet, aboard ship during the Christmas school holidays in the year prior to applying for a full time postion. This BHP initiative (I'm not aware of any other companies offering this) was a way of finding if an applicant found life at sea to his liking and gave a ship's captain the chance to assess the applicant. My voyage was aboard Iron Whyalla, from Geelong to Kwinana (WA) then back to Melbourne, from 29th. December 1972 to 17th. January 1973. I really enjoyed it, but being just a pup of just 16 1/2 years old I found it quite a culture shock.
|En route Kwinana, Western Australia.|
Iron Spencer (1973 - 1974)
In late 1973, I applied for and was granted a permanent position as a deck cadet with BHP. Coincidently, a fellow student at my school (now Port Phillip Sea Pilot - Captain Brian Liley, one of my closest friends) also applied to BHP, was accepted and appointed to the same ship as me - Iron Spencer, to join in Whyalla, South Australia on 20th. December 1973.
|As a deck cadet, aged 17, aboard Iron Spencer.|
|Iron Spencer at the BHP pier in Kwinana in January 1974.|
|Rough seas en route Kwinana to Newcastle NSW.|
|Iron Spencer in Port Kembla, February 1974.|
|My fellow cadet, Brian, left the Iron Spencer in Newcastle and was appointed to Iron Warrior (above).|