26th March 2006, 09:02
I believe that Port Alma, Queensland qualifies as a place of interest. The MV
Wairangi , on which I was an apprentice, arrived there in mid 1939.
It was several miles up a mangrove fringed river. The Port consisted of a
wooden quay & warehouse. The rail lines on the wharf went off in a straight line towards the horizon. The cargo of bales of hides and casks of tallow
arrived by train daily, also all the dock labour. The came from many miles up country. We had great fun playing cricket on the mudflats.
I would be interested to hear what it is like nowadays.
28th March 2006, 11:22
I was there 15 years ago and it had not changed
28th March 2006, 12:32
I actually thought Port Alma had shut down as a port but looking at the internet there seems to be a bit going on. None of the old Blue Star, Port Line meat business happening though. The locals in Rockhampton must be eating it all.
29th March 2006, 09:02
Good place for shark fishing while lying the pick waiting for a berth. You were right, a great view of mangroes. Never sailed with anyone who went up the line. Not berthed there very long, we dischharged new print.
Jim B (Applause) (Thumb)
29th March 2006, 20:32
Nice place to studying sandflies on. I think some 10 years ago or so the police court and arrested a small coaster attempting to bring out a large amount of drug (or otherwise illegal obtained money) to bring to some overseas destination. The owner of the ship was (they say) from NSW central coast, Coffs Harbour or Ballina or somewhere there. He got court and ended up in jail for a long time. Does someone else know anything about it. It must have been the most exiting that ever has happened in that place. I was there in 1973 and what I can remember of that place is the same as Peter Eckford describes.
29th March 2006, 20:53
Has not changed a great deal the wooden wharf which ran stright outfrom the shoreline was replaced with a concrete structure in the 60s and a portal crane put on the Wharf for working the ANL costal trade. The small ship refered to was trading between the phillipines and Australia with Nitrate for the mines in Queensland the port in NSW was Yamba and the owner who ended up in the slammer was a blown away Swede I think martin Johnson.
29th March 2006, 21:23
Interesting to hear. I have heard similar thing ("but just rumours"). Could that be the same bloke that “Lost a ship” and it later was found at a wreckers yard in China, and in a freezer room was the human bodies of Caucasian race. It was written about it in Australian newspapers also years ago.
30th March 2006, 19:46
Many memories of this old port from an old "Port" boat man. I remember the flies, bloody horrible things that we always maintained were specially trained by the RAAF to cause maximum hassle to us "Poms". The barbies on the sand with the odd "found" box of meat ex-cargo and the scrounged tatties from the cook. The utter desolation of the place with the quay, railway line going off into the distance and a pig of an on-shore wind to keep you alongside, even when you had had enough. The dinkies always told us that we could not join the train as the line went past "sensitive" Air Force property. As, at that time (late 60s) most of what the dinkies had was ex-uk anyway I feigned surprise and bolted when 4 dockers took umbrage!
What a life, and getting paid for it as well!!!
30th March 2006, 20:30
I was there about 1952/53 & am really amazed at how restrained previous writers have been.From memory surroundings looked a little better at full tide. KIWI
21st June 2006, 08:17
Just caught up with this thread and I had a quiet chuckle at some of the comments!
There are few real changes I suppose, maybe modernization would be the correct word.
Still Mangroves and biting Sandflies, no Hotel and a long way from anywhere.
These days there is a huge pile of Salt which is "made" from evaporative ponds a few kms away It is for industrial use, and is loaded into small bulkers by conveyor.
The Reefers still call. They load the carcasses either in teu's or 'loose' into the holds.
They arrive by road from the meatworks at Rocky about 75k away, the rail tracks were pulled up some time ago. The ships then usually call into Brisbane to load and sail to the USA often with the odd "Mariner" luxury motor yacht as deck cargo.
Small parcel tankers also load tallow for export.
The biggest change since the "old Days" you guys talk about is that now
Alma is the largest port in eastern Australia for the importation of Ammonium Nitrate for making explosives + finished explosives. These are destined for the huge open-cut coal mines about 100k inland. There are several factories located about 50k from Alma,inland on the main Nth Sth rail line and Highway, operated by Nobel and ICI, at a place called Bajool.
I found out all of this a couple of months ago when several mates and I went to Port Alma area catching Mud Crabs which are a delicacy in these parts and super expensive to buy in a shop.
I hope you enjoyed your Economics lesson for today!!
David D. (Thumb)
16th March 2007, 16:35
port alma, port 4 rockhampton, was there in 1960 on the port alma, actually saw a train like the wild west with a cow catcher on...[deck boy]
16th March 2007, 16:36
looking for a mate dave wills from leicester sailed on port alma in 1960