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  #1  
Old 15th March 2007, 20:51
Terry Rose Terry Rose is offline  
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phosphateers

would welcome members sharing with me their memories[only good i hope] of loading rock phosphate at Nauru/ocean/Makatea islands[latter is french polynesia] and/or discharging that rock in NZ ports such as Auckland/Napier/New Plymouth/Lyttelton/Dunedin/Bluff / Tauranga during 1950's and 1960's.During that period i was with British Phospahte in their Akl office n saw a lot of that rock being outturned from lyle/Bank/Hogarth/Denholm/Athel vessels as well as Redgate/Sheafmount to name a few. recall loading at Nauru was acomplished during one day so guess it must have been a right dusty experience.I'm putting together a book primarily for my grandchildren n their children about things maritime which affected my life- a time when ships filled our ports and the wharves were accessible to strollers in the weekend. lots has been written abt those Lines who took our exports away but seems little recognition of those trampers who brought in a vital commodity for our agricultural industry.
Cheers
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  #2  
Old 15th March 2007, 21:02
benjidog benjidog is offline
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Hi Terry,

Can't help with your question but I would just like to say that I think it is a great idea to write down your experiences for your grandchildren and wish you good luck with it.

Regards,

Brian
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  #3  
Old 15th March 2007, 21:30
Hamish Mackintosh Hamish Mackintosh is offline  
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Greetings Terry, I was on the "Ivybank" 1950-52 did about twelve or so trips to Nauru and Ocean island, hit most of the ports in NZ you mentioned and also quite a few in south OZ. We were loaded by conveyor in Nauru and could load in one day weather permitting,and yes we ate a lot of dust,Ocean Island on the other hand was a lot slower to load ,as it was done with small motorized barges carrying tubs, which were hoisted aboard with the ships gear while we drifted off the shore,not as dusty as Nauru but just as hot.Will try and locate a couple of pictures of the Nauru operation which I have cheers Hamish
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  #4  
Old 15th March 2007, 22:16
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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Greeting Terry
There was several posting about Nauru on this site and maybe one of the "Super Moderators" will point you in the right difection.
Sailed into Nauru many times "Celtic Monarch" & "Scottish Monarch".
You did indeed load in one day. Going to the buoys at daybreak and finishing in early afternoon. Very dusty as there were no way to stop that. Mostly in tha afternoon the dust blew ashore as that was when the onshore breezes started.
One of not many crew members that was ashore there for more than a few hours (Two weeks in the local hospital, Firstly with an eye injury and then because of mosquito bites)
That was in the 1964/65 era when British Phosphate Commission was in control.
Nothing remains from what I hear except the ruins of the loading cantalever.
Not that I would wish to go back.
There was no air line services then ,only ships in and out.
Bill

Last edited by lakercapt; 16th March 2007 at 14:44..
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  #5  
Old 16th March 2007, 13:47
trotterdotpom trotterdotpom is offline  
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Cape Otway

Attached is a photo of Cape Otway loading at Nauru in 1985 (I hope). My computer skills are up there with my photographic skills.

Cape Otway was built in 1976 for Lyles (Scottish Ship Management) and immediately bareboat chartered to British Phosphate Commissioners. In about 1981, BPC turned up their toes and she was returned to Lyles and was immediately bareboat chartered to Australian National Line.

Cape Otway always seemed to need two days to load at Nauru - this may have been partly because she was a bit bigger than a lot of the other ships (32,000 dwt), but also, I believe, the phosphate was already becoming harder to get out by the mid-80s. Two day loadings were a bit risky because you could drift for quite a time before going alongside the loader, then leave in the afternoon and end up drifting again prior to returning to finish off.

Nauru was a bit of a dump but I do recall a couple of hilarious afternoons at a bar-shack run by a local lady called Aunty Peg (or something like that). Great fun, full of beer, trying to catch the piglets which wandered in and out of the place.

When the ship was operated by BPC, the officers were required to wear white uniform (shorts and shirts) and were given a generous allowance for it's maintenance. The precedent was set, it had to be continued when ANL took over as a lot of the BPC personnel came with the ship. When the Chippy and I joined the ship we weren't aware of this rule so had no whites. The Captain decided that we would not be paid the allowance if we didn't get the uniforms as soon as possible. Lo and behold, white shorts and shirts were available in Nauru! They must have been in the store for years because we were a source of much amusement for all the John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors lookalikes, appearing in the bar in our "Bombay Bloomers" (baggy as hell and down to our knees with chic buckles for tightening the waist). I bet they weren't sniggering a year later when they realised we'd started a trend and everyone from Bondi to St Tropez was wearing them!

Scottish Ship Management bercame defunct in 1987 and Cape Otway became Hansa Mariner under the Norwegian flag. Sadly, she was the last of a long line of "Cape" ships owned by Lyles of Glasgow.

There is a fair bit about Nauru already on this site - put Nauru Pacific into the search engine. Also take a look at www.scottishshipmanagement.com for info on many of their ships, most of which made numerous trips to Nauru, Christmas Island and Ocean Island before it ran out of birdpoo.

John T.
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File Type: jpg nauru.jpg (11.8 KB, 133 views)
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  #6  
Old 16th March 2007, 14:08
Chemical Brother Chemical Brother is offline  
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Well this was before my time at see, but my first trip as Captain we were in charter for NPC. Doing Melbourne, Brisbane, Honiara and Nauru with supplies for the the Island/Nauru. I liked the trade.
This was on Arktis Sky in 1996 -4months contract-
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  #7  
Old 19th March 2007, 12:28
waimea waimea is offline  
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I did one trip to Christmas Island on Lyle's Cape Hawke on charter to British Phosphate. Geelong to Fremantle to load general in the forward hold and then to the Island. Lucky to go under the loader on arrival as it was not uncommon to drift for days waiting for the wind to blow to the north. Loaded in 24 hours and then to take the top off in Port Lincoln so we could get up the river into Adelaide where I paid off as I was only relieving. A good ship with a great crowd and a very good feeder. Very traditional co BPC. they still had a Purser.
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  #8  
Old 19th March 2007, 20:12
vangooler vangooler is offline  
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only made it once to Ocean Island(or was it Nauru). That was on the Reaveley in 1956. Took a load to Port Adelaide. I know we loaded with conveyors, reading the post from Hamish. I have to believe it was Nauru. Was only there one day so never got ashore. Although I do recall some of the locals spear fishing in the clear water. There is a website that gives some good insight to the pros and cons of the mining. www.janeresture.com/banaba/ Banaba being ist new name.
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  #9  
Old 20th March 2007, 23:38
Calm C Calm C is offline  
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Hi terry,
Found your post interesting as I did a few trips to Nauru and Christmas Island (Indian Ocean) with Scottish Ship Management discharging in the NZ ports you mentioned. This was in the late '70s-early '80s so I think Ocean Island was exhausted by then. Granted, you could load in one or two days, but on my last trip to Nauru in '82 on Cape Trafalgar, we were drifting off for over 50 days awaiting a favourable wind and had to call in at Honiara for oil bunkers.
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  #10  
Old 21st March 2007, 15:29
Plumber Plumber is offline  
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Hi Terry,
1954/55,carried a few loads Narau to Port Kembla.We anchored off then to load.Invited ashore one trip to play socccer.Still got the photo.
Ship named "RILEY"
Good Luck
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  #11  
Old 23rd March 2007, 23:04
backsplice backsplice is offline  
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greetings to the Phosphate lads I have a pic of the TRI ELLIS taken on her sea trials on the Clyde I found it in a very old mag from the 60,s email me if you want a copy yours aye Backslice
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  #12  
Old 24th March 2007, 00:12
Tony D Tony D is offline  
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Did a couple of runs to Christmas Island and Nauru on the British Monarch betwixt 62 and 64, can't remember exactly when now, I recal it as very hot with every thing on the ship battened down because of the dust, as I recal we carried the bird pooh from Christmas Island to Oz, loaded scrap for Japan,on the return trip called in at Nauru and got another load of the horrid stuff for Oz ,as I said don't remember any detail,just it was exceeding hot,no AC in those days.
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  #13  
Old 24th March 2007, 11:09
Chillytoes Chillytoes is offline  
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I did a few trips Nauru and Christmas Island (Indian Ocean) between 81 & 86 on ships of ANL, Selwyn Range, Flinders Range and Cape Hawke chartered from SSM. Actually took Cape Hawke to the breakers on 15/12/86.
I always remember Nauru as one of the saddest places I have been - the fact that so much opportunity was lost through greed, stupidity and gullibility. It seems that when British Phosphate Commissioners were running it, everyone was well fed and healthy and the plant and equipment was in good order. The last trip I did there, towards the end of the mining when the locals had taken over for some years, the place was falling over. The people, especially the women, were the fattest people I can ever recall seeing. After getting off at the landing place, you walked past a maintenace shop where they were making coffins. There was no shape to them, just boxes, like car crates. Huge. Then you came to the back end of the golf course with these huge women shambling after the golf balls. Everyone ate processed food, no fresh produce, so that when a shipment reached the supermarket, it was swiftly cleaned out by alresdy grossly obese people pushing carts full of biscuits and junk food. Outside the supermarket the smell of urine was almost overpowering. There were two (or was it three?) trawlers slumped at moorings, rusting away. There was no suggestion that they ever set off to catch any fish, since like everything else on the island, the compensation paid to them earlier was simply wasted on ill-advised schemes. They built a large hotel for the expected influx of tourists, but tourists stayed away in droves! There was rubbish, admittedly in green bags, lying in almost every corner of the hotel. There were old clothes lying in the street. I could go on, but it's too depressing.
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  #14  
Old 25th March 2007, 13:34
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gdynia gdynia is offline   SN Supporter
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Terry
Try this site

http://www.janesoceania.com/oceania_...ate/index1.htm
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  #15  
Old 25th March 2007, 15:01
Split Split is offline  
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Makatea. I remember that It was my last (and happiest) voyage as apprentice. We had taken a cargo of cement to NZ and were on our slow, but sure, way home on a round the world voyage. What a happy ship she was--- but that is another story.

We arrived at Makatea, a French Island, around November 1951.- That makes me fairly old! The ship was "Notting Hill" of Counties Ship Management. We moored to a buoy and there was no shore leave, so that puts any knowledge of of what the place was like at minimal. The story was that the French did not want any Limejuicers giving the place a bad name. Since we had just been to NZ, we felt that a rest was needed, anyway!

The main thing that I remember was great, lazy, weather--flat calm days, where we used to unshackle the cable periodically because, if I recall, they didn't want us there if we were not loading.The mooring buoy was anchored to the side of the island, and they did not want to lose it if we had bad weather and dragged it off.The current was just enough to drift us away so that, when the island was just visible, we used to approach again and, if no cargo was available, we used to stop and drift away again. I suppose that, anywhere else, and with a different crew, we would have been bored stiff but, believe me, we had the time of our lives. The sharks used to come around and we used to fish for them. One, I remember, was brought on board and what a fury it was. One of the Indian crew despatched it with a fire axe. Plucky fellow! That cargo took about ten days to load and we took it to Bombay.
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  #16  
Old 4th April 2007, 06:56
Terry Rose Terry Rose is offline  
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Many thanks for your words of encouragement- i need them all. With winter now approaching down here i hope to tackle this project seriously and hope the phosphate dust i've seen hasn't clogged up the grey matter.
terry Rose
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  #17  
Old 4th April 2007, 07:00
Terry Rose Terry Rose is offline  
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Thanks Hamish, Wasn't the early 1950's abt the time the kelvinbank took a permanent park on the reef at Ocean island??? Sounds like a fun place
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  #18  
Old 4th April 2007, 11:36
ernhelenbarrett ernhelenbarrett is offline  
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I sailed on the Trienza August 1962 until July 1963 of BPC sailing from Fremantle to the exotic ports of Christmas Island, Nauru and Ocean Island loading phosphate for Geraldton Fremantle Albany Esperance Adelaide and Melbourne and we back Loaded House walls for the Pre-fab houses being built on Nauru and Ocean Island. In those days we carried passengers for those Islands and during the school holidays also had another dozen or so teenagers
going up to the Islands to spend holiday time with their parents, most of the kids were signed on as supernumeries and they used to come into the radio room to play their records on the P.A system about 10pm,, passengers getting off at Christmas Island during the Monsoon season were put in a "pig-pen" and a crane on top of the cliff hauled them up as we couldnt berth under the loading Cantilever.Talk about Green/White faces!!. We drifted for 57 days at Christmas Island one trip after landing passengers, went back to Fremantle for bunkers. water and more passengers then back to the Island but couldnt load so went round to Nauru and Ocean Island , couldnt load there either so went back to Christmas Island and finally loaded, one cargo in three months, par for the course. I enjoyed every minute on the old Trienza/GJJZ then AWA sent me on the KOORAWATHA on the East Coast to West Coast Aussie run. One thing about Nauru, they were still selling Haigs Dimple Scotch at 1940 prices ashore!!!!
Salaams Ern Barrett
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  #19  
Old 4th April 2007, 11:41
ernhelenbarrett ernhelenbarrett is offline  
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Meant to add for Chillytoes benefit, I was on the Cape Hawke in Frementle when she went on fire and called up Harbour Control in Frementle on VHF to report the fire ...to be told that they had been told the fire had been put out!! I informed them I was locked in the Wheelhouse and the fire was definitely NOT Out. They had to break down the door to get me out!!!
Ern Barrett
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  #20  
Old 4th April 2007, 15:10
Hamish Mackintosh Hamish Mackintosh is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Rose View Post
Thanks Hamish, Wasn't the early 1950's abt the time the kelvinbank took a permanent park on the reef at Ocean island??? Sounds like a fun place
I remember a Bank boat being "on the hard" in the south Pacific around that time, but I don't think it was ocean Island, maybe someone on this site will put us right,cheers Hamish
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  #21  
Old 7th April 2007, 02:38
Terry Rose Terry Rose is offline  
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Hi Hamish, Found the newspaper cutting at last. Yes it was the Kelvinbank on Jan 6th [ year unknown but think 1954/55 ]. No casualties and all crew taken on board Titanbank for passage to NZ. Caption to photo says" British motorship Kelvinbank hard aground on reef at Ocean Island".Wonder whats left of her after 50 years.
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  #22  
Old 7th April 2007, 11:52
K urgess K urgess is offline
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There's a picture of her in this thread if you're interested
https://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showth...ght=kelvinbank
Cheers
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  #23  
Old 13th April 2007, 06:46
Terry Rose Terry Rose is offline  
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Many thanks Marconi Sahib for referral to thread re Kelvinbank. Very interesting for me to see photo.
Terry Rose
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  #24  
Old 18th May 2007, 04:12
Chillytoes Chillytoes is offline  
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Because both Christmas Island and Nauru are the peaks of oceanic mountains, the bottom falls away alarmingly only a short distance from the shore. There were no wharves as such and you were strung between the loading gantry and a number of buoys. These buoys must have had miles and miles of chain to the bottom. When sailing, these buoys had to be let go and because of the tension on the mile of mooring chain, a little man was put on the buoy with a hammer. At the given signal, he held on with one hand and belted the cable slip with his hammer and the buoy took off! God knows how more of these little men were not killed.
Anyway, just for a bit of colour, here's some waves on the loaders at Christmas Island.
URL=http://img525.imageshack.us/my.php?image=crhistmasislf9.jpg]http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/6...asislf9.th.jpg[/URL]
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  #25  
Old 18th May 2007, 08:39
Anchorman Anchorman is offline  
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Thanks for posting photo of Christmas island Chillytoes. I did a few trips between there and Geelong in the 60s on the Borgnes. Just a question how do you make the picture larger please? Thanks.
Neil
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