The “Kurrewa IV”

Kurrewa IV

Kurrewa IV
The ‘Kurrewa IV’

     At 13.00 hours on Wednesday the 26th December a gun will fire signifying the start of the 74th running of the ‘Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race’.

However, it is no longer known as The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race; it’s now the ‘Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race’.

Mores the pity!



No doubt there will, as usual, be much merry making, drinking and partying, (not by those taking part in the race) on ‘The Harbour’ prior to and after the yachts take sail, with plenty of excitement, and ‘hopefully’ some thrills; read near misses, fist waving, threats as the boats jostle, and fight, their way out through the heads, and head south.

The race is now for the maxi yachts; a giant, moving, real life, real time, advertisement. for Insurance companies, car manufacturers, television networks, well someones got to pay for the crew it, you can’t expect those poor owners of these vessels to pay for everything can you? Just look at the air time  the sponsors get especially if their boat wins.  Do the hard working crew get a decent bonus for a win?

We can hope so, officially there’s no money for the winner, just a trophy.

For the non maxi’s? Good luck!



Now what’s all this got to do with the title of this rant? you should be asking, well. I plan to tell, you even if you were not wondering.

A few years back, 58 to be precise, I was working for Ansett – ANA as a ‘Traffic Officer at Melbourne Airport, that was at Essendon, not to be confused with Tullermarine,  back then air travel was still an experience.

People dressed for the occasion, men in suits, wearing ties, ladies with gloves, some in hats, everyone on their best behaviour. It was all very pleasant, civilized and for many, most exciting. Nothing like watching the propellers spinning away. Kind of like comparing a steam train/engine with a diesel!

The largest planes in both the domestic airline carriers fleets was the Lockheed L188 Electra. At Ansett we referred to them as the “Goose”, they were the aircraft that lined the company coffers.

They were big! Seating capacity 33F/48T 33 first class and 48 tourist.

Yep! 81 passengers, max! ( The A380-800 is certified to carry 868 but the company feel that 544 is a more comfortable number of pax).  the A380 is more than ten times the size.

‘Traffic Officers’ with the airlines in the 50’s and 60’s were  the front line troops, and like the military back then, it was men only.

We did just about everything, except fly the aircraft. We were responsible for meeting, checking the pax, and  their luggage, the loading of baggage, freight, the trimming of the plane; the catering and the cleaning;  we usually had 20 minutes to turn the aircraft around,from the moment the motors shut down.

Mind we had loaders to load, cleaners to clean and caterers to stock up the bar!

‘Tarmac Control’, marshalling the aircraft into their slots, was also part of our job, and my favourite task. There’s a funny story to tell about The Beatles, me, and the tarmac control, which I might get around to one day.

All the pilots did was fly the thing, whilst the hostesses served the food, drink and booze! The pay was good, and the uniform was smart! 😈

Good front line T.O’s got to know the regular travellers, they were usually denoted as XV on the passenger waybill, no computers back then, and we’d get to know most of  their idiosyncrasies,; and the event taking place next Wednesday brings back memories of two of them. Brothers; John & Frank Livingstone.

Sir Robert Menzies, the Prime Minister at the time referred to them as ‘The Mad Livingstone’s”, I believe his reason being, is that their father, who had been a Member of Parliament, and anyone who was, or had been, had to have been mad, as was their offspring; or some such nonsense. ( you might need to go away and think about that last lot!).

Frank and John were bachelors, born around 1903/1904, there was only a year between them. They had a sister Emily, more about Emily later; they were very wealthy ‘cockies’; with property in Mt. Gambia, South Australia. They also had a great love of sailing and travel.

Ansett’s were the only airline that served Mt Gambier; one flight a day to Adelaide one to Melbourne. To be precise Adelaide/Mt Gambier/Melbourne; Flight 237  returning as Flt.238, Melbourne/Mt Gambier/Adelaide departed Essendon at 14.50 daily. So we got all their business.

The flight was always serviced by a Viscount 700 series aircraft; max capacity around 60/62 pax. Sometimes it would go off with just 3 pax, The Livingstone brothers and Emily.

It  seemed possible that the only reason Ansetts serviced Mt Gambier was to get the Livingstone business, they certainly utilized it, and many of our other services too, Melbourne /Sydney in particular comes to mind.

Back then if you wanted/needed to fly overseas from, Australia the only way out was Sydney. Melbourne had one flight; a BOAC Comet to England, every Wednesday, I can’t remember about the Sandgropers, I think they had to make their way east to get out of Australia. Bit different these days.

I’m not sure of the year, it may have been 1960, or perhaps ’61,   Now Christmas Day was a very quiet day for airlines back then, very few flights, anyway the Livingstone’s 3 arrived, heading home to Mt Gambier, and the Hostess on the “Information Desk” called to one of the bros to take a phone call.

Was the skipper of the yacht the Kurrewa IV, to say that the cook had been taken sick, and carted off to hospital; didn’t have anyone to do the cooking for the voyage, should they pull out of the race? The race took a few days in the 50’s and early 60’s.

” No problem; I’ll go” says Emily, tuppence ha’penny worth high, and well into her 60’s, so she took the next flight up to Sydney, and worked the galley all the way to Hobart.

I must admit I was full of admiration for Miss Livingstone after that.

To this day the Kurrewa IV holds the record for the number of times it won the coveted ‘Line Honours’ award, I suppose one of the multi-million dollar maxi’s, will eventually beat the record, but it   certainly   Kurrewa Iv 02wont have the history and character of The Kurrewa IV; she was built around 1911 a 65′ cutter and named the Morna. When Frank and John bought her they renamed her.

Kurrewa IV

The Livingstone’s never struck me as mad, whatever Bob Menzies may have said, they were slightly eccentric, they were dinki di Australians, no doubt about that, and a bit forgetful.

I can recall one afternoon, checking them in for a flight home,  our senior driver came in to speak to one of them. In the bad old days a senior driver, and drivers, were essential, we had parking facilities, transport  facilities, everything was more personalized; and on this occasion the  senior driver was a bit concerned.

Seems that Mr John Livingstone had left his new Ford Fairlane, in the secure parking at the airport, some weeks previous, and the s.d was a bit concerned. and thought it best to mention it.

” Oh good” exclaims John L. ” I thought I’d lost it!”,

True.  Not mad, just eccentric.

The bear

51 thoughts on “The “Kurrewa IV”

  1. This was a ripper of a yarn, M’Lord. Things are so impersonal these days, in comparison.

    Merry Christmas to you and the fambly! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Yvonne glad you enjoyed it; true yarns always the best I think.
      At the library the other day I picked up someones shopping list, it’s not very big, rather odd it’s written on the back of their business card a Dr Ferguson and the info on the back of the card is quite amusing. Do you want it? I can scan or photograph it a send it to you, I have your email addy somewhere’

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What’s good idea. I have gone all silent with my blog, this will stir me into action.

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        1. Probably wont mean much to the aliens that pop by sometimes, it’s an Aussie post .
          Send your addy and ll send the pics

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        2. I couldn’t spot your email address, . I think you’re savvy enough to work that out! 🙂

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        3. Its on the very bottom above the words A WordPress.com Website

          Like

    2. Thanks for the greetings I shall be home alone with my dog and a couple of bottles of Makers Mark, THO always gives me two bottles for Christmas, I think she’s hoping I’ll drink myself to death 👿

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Will this be the year you succeed!

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        1. only got 9 days left if it’s to be this year, Ive been known to procrastinate

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    3. Can’t find your email address Yvonne do you want to send it to me, my email address is at the bottomn of my posts

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      1. It doesn’t show for me. Did you see my reply with my address? Way up there in the comments, somewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. A considerate cuss might have just provided it when asked for it instead of pointing to it three times. I mean, it’s on the blog page, so it’s not a secret and it’s easy to do . . .

          Like this, maybe:

          lordbeariofbow@hotmail.com

          Like

  2. . . . way at the bottom . . . like, the last line.

    Nice tale nicely told.

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    1. Maybe it just doesn’t show on my tablet, I shall check on the laptop, assuming I remember to do so.

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      1. The comment went in moderation so here it is again Edited so as to fool moderation):

        A considerate cuss could have just provided it when asked for it instead of pointing to it three times. I mean, it’s on the blog page, so it’s not a secret and it’s easy to do . . .

        Like this, maybe:

        lordbeariofbow(at)hotmail.com

        Obviously, replace (at) with @.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve never been considered considerate, just a cuss

          Liked by 2 people

    2. Nope, it doesn’t reveal itself to me. I can cope with yet another disappointment. 🙂

      You realise you have poked the sleeping dog with a stick, disperser, and with any luck, we’ll soon be treated to a nice exchange of pleasantries between you two.

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      1. Not gonna happen; I’m too busy to deal with it right now. Besides, it’ll take him a while to think up what down there passes for a clever response and he’ll forget what it was he’s responding to.

        . . . at least, that’s what it seems whenever we get into these little exchanges. Normally, I put up with it out of respect for the ancients, but, as I said, busy, busy, busy.

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        1. Aw, heck, I will miss the fun.

          Don’t forget to stop and smell some flowers in all your business.

          Best wishes from another ancient

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Thank you . . . although . . . I mean, I don’t know how it is over there, but when people do their business here, it doesn’t smell like flowers.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Aaaand, just as my palsied finger hit send, I thought “Eff word, that should have been busy-ness”. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    3. Not sure if it’s a tale, it’s all true; thank you for the compliment

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  3. What a fascinating story. I would love a return to men in suits as the norm and me in gloves and a smart hat. An end to the casual baseball hatted men wearing jeans that ought to be saved for the garden, an end to women and girls going out half dressed in semi naked attire.
    It’s not going to happen is it?
    Have a peaceful Christmas Brian. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Sue; I miss those bad old days , when we were civilized.
      I shall certainly have a peaceful Christmas Sue, I’m home alone with Coco. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A very entertaining slice of history Melud

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh dear – that is a very personal story for me. My mother was very badly hurt in a car accident near Warragul. March 1960. I was at Uni in Adelaide. The quickest way for me to get to Melbourne was Adelaide via Mount Gambier to Melbourne on Ansett. A frightened 18 year old and my first plane trip. I’ll never forget it Brian. My uncle picked me up at Essendon and took me straight to the hospital. What memories you reminded me of.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. and our paths may have crossed; I hope the memories awakened were more pleasant than not Robin.

      Like

  6. Flying sure ain’t what it used to be. I remember dressing in my Sunday best when I got to fly somewhere. So exciting. I wanted to be a pilot in those days, but women mostly could only be stewardesses.

    And my hat’s off to those ocean racers. Still sailing those beautiful boats and braving the ocean’s worst. These boats are what sailing should be, not those hi tech things we now see in the America’s Cup.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s not much pleasure in flying now, although I must admit I love flying, I loved it when I was in the drivers seat, the most exhilarating experience ever, roaring down the runway, the plane shaking rotate, lift off and smooth air, glorious feeling never to be forgotten.
      As for the current yacht; the new maxi’s are as bad as the Americas Jug/Cup boat’s all hi-tech computer controlled, that’s why they’ve cut the time it takes almost in half, it may even be more than half. Pity,

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Fabulous story Brian. Loved every bit of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Gwen, was just a few memories that came to me the other night and I thought I’d share them.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ira Kowalski 23/12/2018 — 09:36

    Great Yarn.
    Merry Christmas to you and Coco, who I am sure has been a good boy and thus will receive an extra extra treat from Santa.
    Ira

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    1. Thanks Ira from Coco and me, as for treats he gets more than enough as it is, he has me well trained when it comes to supplying them

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  9. I have been getting Zero notifications of your posts so I am delighted that Yvonne prompted me to look you up myself.
    I remember Ansetts for a couple of reason. When I was a school in Ballarat and had to return home to Naracoorte in SA the only way to get home was an Ansett bus.. And I had a girlfriend who was an Ansett hostie. Those were the days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s how Reg Ansett got his start, bought an old Studebaker bus, I think it was a Studebaker, and ran a daily service between Hamilton and Melbourne. That’s what paved the way for him .
      When he shifted his operation to Melbourne he promised the people that as long as he lived he’d run and make sure they had a daily service to Melbourne and back.
      Every day we’d would despatch flight 222 , a DC3 to Hamilton, and every day it would come back as flight 223, some days it would go out with 1 or 3 pax most days it went there and back empty, a good way for young flight crew to notch up hours, But Reg stuck to his word, an honourable man and the best I ever worked for.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And as a kid who knew that story from the start I was always vicariously proud of Reg Ansett.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I can honestly say, like all who worked for him; I loved the man, rough as guts at times, but as straight and honest as a die. I met him many a time when working out at Essendon, and the memories always bring a smile. Then those mongrel b’s murdock and abeles tore that great company Reg built to shreds, and the kiwi’s fed on the carcass.

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  10. Young people would have a good laugh if they saw the way we got ‘dressed to the nines’ for a plane trip! I’m with Pied Type—it was very exciting in those days!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Young people today don’t know the pleasures they are missing, and they don’t care, and I include my offspring the youngest is 37, and all they want to do is get on the plane get to where they’re going and get off.My brain dead offspring are a bit of a disappointment at times 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  11. You’re a fabulous story teller. What an era that was. Such characters around (now the “characters” are not so interesting – somewhat fearsome…) People used to get dressed up even to go and pick up people at the airport.
    Now that’s a real sailboat – graceful, sleek, and headstrong…not like today’s fast odd robotic machines in the water. Thanks for the pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed it was, I have many, many, happy memories.
      I find it sad that none of my children, are the least bit interested. and think I’m odd, for even writing ‘blogs’; it’s beneath them to even read what I write. But then they’re all so much smarter than the ‘old👴man’, well I’m glad they think so 😦
      Thank you for the kind words, I’m blushing 😳 😲.
      One thing strikes me as strange/odd, from all who have made comments, nobody is/was curious about “the Beatles and me”, a little aside that I dropped as bait.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Make sure you print out copies of your memory posts – your great grandchildren will adore them!!! Grown kids take a while to get any sense HAHA
        I treasure all the old family journals I have – tell real stories from those who were there…which may become more valuable/important as there are those rewriting history as we speak.
        Beatles – can’t wait for that one – we all started speaking with English accents then…really, we tried

        Liked by 1 person

        1. never thought of doing that, didn’t know it’s was possible. so you see I’m not as smart as your average 🐻
          When they were young and at school the children wanted to hear my “stories”, but once they left and became older and wiser than me they lost all interest. Sad really.
          The beatles episode would only take a paragraph or two, so I’d have to embellish it to make one of my usual ramblings, In 1944 my brother and I were sent to live in Lancashire for a couple of months whilst my mother was in the late stages of pregnancy, it was pretty hard back then, the V1 rockets were falling and much time was wasted in air raid shelters and babies were born at home with the aid of a midwife.
          When we returned to London, after my sister was born, ( did a post about that – she was born just as a doodlebug crashed in a field 100 yards away) my brother was speaking with a Lancashire accent just like the Beatles have, I still had my cockney accent, even today you’ll can pick it, I speak and sound a bit like Michael Caine, 50 year ago there was a lass called me Alfie, I didnt know what she meant or why

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Alfie – fits (insert smiles here)
          Few think of saving important post – but more should. At one time WP actually had a company that would print posts you selected and bind them into a book – that was years back, though.
          You have some sort of” documents”/pagesI(Apple) on your computer. Take the time to slower go back over your posts either in the WP Dashboard’s Post list / on line in actual blog posts and highlight the sections you want to save, then paste them into your computer’s “new document” place/file and save. You can save the posts as individual documents with a title for each or run them all together like chapters in a book – like a loooong multi-page document. Save all on a flash drive, too.
          If WP suddenly crashes or angry aliens zap the internet (online storage, too) You’ll have a hard copy. Pied or others can probably email you easier or more clear instructions.
          Waiting for more embellishments – ramblings just make it more fun!!!

          Like

        3. Well that was fun.
          I did as you suggested; sort of,
          I was acknowledging a comment from a lady who had found my stuff via GP Cox the Pacific Parachuter.
          Why she did what she did I don’r know; she checked out an old post from Jan 2018, Was one of my better ones, and as I was answering her I thought I’d have a go at printing it out, being an old post
          .
          I simply selected a print button, not sure which one it was, anyway the thing opened up and I had a look and it said it will be 31 pages long. I thought some sort of joke.
          Anyway I okayed it to print 7 pages lo and behold it did,
          Just like the post.
          Big writing all spread out and the 7 pages got me as far as the 44 comments.
          There has to be an easier way and I’m certainly going to do it. I think it will be fun.
          I’ll have to work out what I’ll print and how to do it at a sensible size. I’ll keep you posted 😀 ,,, if I knew where 😛

          Liked by 1 person

        4. I print from the draft/edit form in the WP administration area instead of the actual posted article so no comments print. Although the comments are really good for a laugh or smile sometimes – especially those after your blog posts – what a fun bunch of commenters you have

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        5. I’m not sure how I managed it, bit of a fluke really but I opened an old post; highlighted the lot, comments and all, then pasted it into a text document, it all went through nicely, except I can’t get the font that I like. (I’m a bit like Susan at PiedType, love nice fonts)
          I saved it into documents as you suggested, now all I have to do is find it, not sure what I called it when I saved it.
          I think most have a jolly time when they write their comments here, they get away with murder,
          I was looking at my first efforts and never got any looks or comments, and they were very amateurish; I’m going to tidy them up I might repost some of them,
          That will certainly cause some merriment I’d imagine. 😊 😅

          Liked by 1 person

        6. YEA! (and those who do not like fonts are not truly awake.)
          Then we can comment on the comments – it should be hilarious ( and so modern and trendy – like twitter – you would be as cool and first adopter level as any Super Geek! – take that grown children HAHAHAHA)

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        7. I must admit I get a kick out of the comments, that’s why I want to save and print those out too, They complete the stuff and nonsense I ramble on about completely.

          Liked by 1 person

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