Jump to content

You're currently viewing the forum as a Guest
register-now-button_orig.png
and join in with discussions   
ask migration questions
message other members

..and much much more!

Bobj

BobJ Reminiscing...

Recommended Posts

Roebourne...the fifth hottest town in Australia...My first job was to introduce myself to the ballast quarry manager. Luck was on my side, the replacement foreman from the Mt. Tom Price quarry was to be the manager for this project; a thoroughly good bloke. As we were discussing tactics a spot fire just 'happened' about 50 yards away. Seems that a shard of glass was reflecting/concentrating sun light on to a piece of combustible material and set fire to an area close to the quarry worksheds. All the blokes went over and we spent a rather hot, dusty and very smokey 30 minutes putting out the fire. What a good start to the new job.

One of the many 'duties' my boss gave me was to record the daily temperatures. At the end of the project, I was reading up the daily temperatures and saw that at one stage, we had 29 consecutive days over the old century and a couple of days at 99 F, then another 21 days over the century again...Highest temperature I recorded for the project was 115 F, lowest was 63 F. (46 C and 17 C)

It was so hot at Camp 7 that one could not get a cold shower until about 10pm and then it was a rather warm shower. Reason was that the water tank had been constructed on a ledge of ironstone; the heat absorbed during the day would radiate out once night fell.

A little digression here...As I was having a shower one night, a bloke came in to a cubicle near by and after a couple of minutes a small voice called out, " Daddy, will I get hairs on my willy like you and Mummy?"...I burst out laughing! Couldn't help it.

 

Back on temperatures...I had to buy a 1 HP air conditioner for my caravan and then I had to double insulate the roof. The company gave us reflective sheeting to do this and the whole caravan park sparkled if any breezes wafted through the area. Of course, the 'van park was situated on a slight slope of ironstone. Indeed, all the Camp 7 was on ironstone.

 

MKMO (the company) had a new-fangled thing called a computer...It was housed in a skid unit (same as the single blokes' dongas) but it was double insulated and had a air-lock one had to enter in order to access the computer room. This rather large assemblage was for a 75 k computer...Another one of my jobs was to notify the computer room of any shots fired at the quarry, so that ground vibrations would not send the computer into a tizzy. The computer would then be shut down for about 1 hour... Ahhh, progress!!

 

The quarry was situated about 1 mile from a beaut little beach and when the quarry shut down for maintenance, I would nip down to the beach and watch the myriad fish darting around. One day I took a few blokes from the engineering office to this beach. The blokes got fishing and we brought back a decent feed of whiting and trevally for the BBQ.

That beach was a small piece of heaven and from that small place, decided that I would retire to a nice, quiet beach some day...

 

Anyway...We decided to check the place out and one day when the tide was out, went there and found that there was a huge platform, about 200 yards long and 50 yards wide; it was composed of limestone and thus had several pools, from bath tub size to backyard size, full of exotic fish and sea shells, a veritable paradise. It was such a nice place that we would only go there when the tide was out; just like swimming in an aquarium. Pity I never had a camera in those days.

 

Cheers, Bobj.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Whitecrow
A bit more...The base camp on the Paraburdoo project was 7 miles out from Mt. Tom Price and virtually on the edge of the desert. One weekend, I took 5 blokes out along a tiny track for about 30 miles and came across a gorgeous pool. It was about 4ft deep and roughly 30 yards long. We went past there and came across an abandoned shack. It looked as though a mining exploration group had just upped and left the place...about 1 year earlier; no tracks, foot, or wheel. A few mineral samples were on a table outside, a tea cup was on the table as well. Weird. Never found out who had been there. On the way back, we had a dip in the pool, which I found out later is called Coppin Pool; yes, it is on google earth! Anyway, we were heading back and saw a gap in the hills to our right, so, off we went and came to a small gorge with pools of water. At the beginning of the gorge, (25 ft high) we saw some petroglyphs. I climbed up to see one particular petroglyph and found a woomera and digging stick wedged into a small crack in the rocks, I still have them.

All this was between 1970 and 1972.

A couple of jobs my American boss gave me, one was to go to Dampier by company Cessna and check the quality control of the management company as their soil testing was knocking back our company's work, a minor contract to extend the stockpile yards. It turned out that the blokes who were on the Paraburdoo job had been transferred to the Dampier job. That sorted out, I was taken back to base camp. At the Dampier airport, the pilot started taxiing and got the message to speed it up. We took off and the pilot told me to look back...A Fokker jet was thundering along the runway behind us as we got airborne. The jet's thrust as it flew over us was noticeable...A bit scarey. Twenty minutes later, we hit a bit of clear air turbulence and the plane dropped roughly 5,000 ft. Bugga!!

Next job to Dampier was to check the stockpile yards. Again, the company plane but this time 4 passengers on the return trip. And again, on take-off the pilot got a message but it was to fly at rooftop height and check the Roebourne-Mt. Tom Price road for any areas that could hold up traffic. We were about to move the heavy machinery to the coast for the Robe River project. As we were flying at about 100 ft, the pilot told us to look to the port side and as he said that, he accidentally knocked a latch which opened his port window...A poor sod immediately vomitted all over the pilot's nice plane! Going along so low, the pilot 'forgot' to look up and I yelled for him to "PULL UP" The area we were flying in is mesa country, low, flat topped hills with the road following a valley. He pulled up just in time, well by about 50 ft... More vomit from the "poor sod".

The pilot was a bright? young bloke who had the onerous task of transporting the bosses around to see how work was progressing...Strewth! but he must have been one brave youg chappy to take all the air turbulence in that hot area. The thermals were so bad that as soon as the Paraburdoo commercial airport was built, the Mt. Tom Price citizens would drive down to Paraburdoo and fly from there instead of from the Mt. Tom Price airport.

 

More later.

 

Cheers, Bobj.

The camp as I new it was known as Camp Bill Ross. I can still remember the flyrock landing near the workshop a few times! Good times though, lots of hours, lots of cold beer at the end of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Whitecrow

I also worked both projects' date=' went into Pannawonica as fitter on the sleeper layer. You may remember Eric Cooling. He was in charge of the monster.[/i']

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I also worked both projects, went into Pannawonica as fitter on the sleeper layer. You may remember Eric Cooling. He was in charge of the monster.

Mate! Musta chatted to you many times. One of my jobs was to order 'furniture' for the sleeper layer. Can't remember the name, Eric Cooling...

Couldn't remember the name of the camp...Bill Ross. Many thanks for that, good to remember those times.

I have a copy of the company's magazine, "The Em-kayan" (March 1972) that has a pic of the sleeper layer; will try and get it up on the thread sometime.

 

Cheers, Bobj.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Whitecrow

I would really appreciate a pic or two! Some years ago my home was burgled and all my MKMO pics were nicked along with a lot of other stuff. Remember "sackem Syd?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would really appreciate a pic or two! Some years ago my home was burgled and all my MKMO pics were nicked along with a lot of other stuff. Remember "sackem Syd?"

 

Here you go, mate. Had to photograph each photo in the mag.

 

The Sleeper Layer.

 

MKMO1972002.jpg

 

Sleepers laid on one of the sidings.

 

MKMO1972006.jpg

 

Rail strings ready for placing.

 

MKMO1972003.jpg

 

Cheers, Bobj.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest siamsusie

Lovely reading BobJ.. Mr Siam has thoroughly enjoyed going through your memories... of course this is his stamping ground, the iron oar railways.

Love the pictures.

 

Susie xx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:wubclub:Bob do you know what , when i read yr posts i can't help smile and beam away

 

Your one in a million , do you know that

 

Brides x


If the world were a logical place, men would ride side saddle:cute:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:wubclub:Bob do you know what , when i read yr posts i can't help smile and beam away

 

 

Your one in a million , do you know that

 

Brides x

 

 

Most likely the oldest...:wink:

 

But, thanks.

 

Cheers, Bobj.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Whitecrow
Here you go, mate. Had to photograph each photo in the mag.

 

The Sleeper Layer.

 

MKMO1972002.jpg

 

Sleepers laid on one of the sidings.

 

MKMO1972006.jpg

 

Rail strings ready for placing.

 

MKMO1972003.jpg

 

Cheers, Bobj.

Thank for your efforts Bob! Unreal! Many memories here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As the new contract at Robe got underway, several men applied for jobs; one 'bloke' said he was a surveyor, so, trusting his word, the Head surveyor gave him a gang and told him to start at so-and-so. That afternoon, the gang came back early and made a complaint to the head surveyor in that the 'new surveyor' could not read the theodolites, and that the gang "kept on putting the staff the wrong upside down".

Next day he was sent off as a chainman...He was asked to get the chain tape from the wagon and spent 10 minutes looking for a length of chain! That afternoon, the head surveyor decided that this 'bloke' was only good enough to be an axe hand...Wrong! He cut off two of his toes!

We had a hard hat area and woe betide anyone disobeying the basic rule! One fine, upstanding chappy had his in his hand when the yard supervisor came up and advised him that the rules were to be obeyed. He complained that the hats were too hot to wear...Sacked on the spot!.

 

The rail yard was absolutely impressive. Layer upon layer of 1160 ft continuous welded rail (CWR) was a sight to see! Once the ballast had been won and stockpiled, I was given the rather superfluous title of Assistant Track Engineer...:laugh: My job was to organise each day's track 'furniture' and so, I was needed in the rail yard. Plans in hand, I had the onerous task of predicting how many rails, how many rail pandrol clips etc. would be needed for any given day. I used to get there before daybreak, fascinated by the first rays of the sun hitting the stockpiled rails and watch them 'shiver' as they suddenly expanded and I marvelled at the sound of the CRACK they made. It was also a great thing to watch that rail bend as it was loaded on to the rail cars.

I made a huge stuff-up one day. The plans i had, called for certain sleepers to be placed on a long curve(different drill holes for the fish plates, for natural outward momentum). The whole trainload came back and I was 'sent for'. Seems that about 150 yards of the curve had been washed away in a small flood, new plans had not been issued when the construction gangs rebuilt that section. And so, I was let off. My boss grumbled that the management company needed to be "a bit more vigilant in their work, Extra money at the end of contract, thank you.

 

One day the boss told me to go to head-of-track to check out the next day's work as they were gearing up for a "big run" (MK MO had held the world record for laying track). I duly went up and was talking to the track superintendant. It was a stifling afternoon, the temps hovering around 112 F. A thunderstorm was off to the side, about 500-600 yards off and we could feel the electricity of the lightning strikes!

Unfortunately, although we were geared up for a crack at the track laying title, we failed by some 1500 yards. From memory, we laid 3.6 miles, spiked, that day.

 

This contract saw quite a few young ladies apply for and get jobs in the engineering offices. There was one delightful young thing who had a keen sense of fun and one evening at the beer garden, after drinking a drop too much, decided that a strip club should be formed...Amazing how many blokes turned up that night!!

On my day off, I would head out to the old mine sites dotted about the countryside.

One particular day, I headed for an old gold mine at a place called Cleaverville. The mine was right on the edge of the sea and very high tides would inundate the outer perimeter of the old mine. To get there, I had to cross roughly 15 miles of Sturt Desert Peas, such a magnificent sight. I managed to find a half ounce nugget, but had it stolen some years later. Another old gold mine I visited a few times was right at the side of the main highway, about 5 miles before Roebourne. I still have a few gold bearing rock specimens.

 

Cheers, Bobj.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Come on Bobj please can we have the next installment.


If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fantastic!!! I would be happy to type your stories out for you if you send me a tape! Also gets me an exclusive read he he


And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive at where we started, and know the place for the first time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fantastic!!! I would be happy to type your stories out for you if you send me a tape! Also gets me an exclusive read he he

I would like an autographed copy:wink:


If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would like an autographed copy:wink:

 

 

x

 

Cheers, Bobj.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have moved Bobj's reminiscing stories all under one thread and made it a sticky as I feel they will be of great interest to lots of members. Thank you Bob


If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
and then ............:GEEK:

 

 

Brides x

 

We all lived happily ever after...:hug:

 

Cheers, Bobj.

 

PS. Have had a few 'adventures' along the way, Brides. :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We all lived happily ever after...:hug:

 

Cheers, Bobj.

 

PS. Have had a few 'adventures' along the way, Brides. :laugh:

 

 

:laugh: i bet you have ! :wubclub: i'll keep an eye out for more adventures

 

Brides x


If the world were a logical place, men would ride side saddle:cute:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should write (or type!) your life story Bob. The extracts I have read are very vivid so I think you have a story teller's 'knack' to bring things alive. - 'Show' not 'Tell'' for instance. Or why not create a blog. Someone on here told me to do it and I made a start using 'Blogger' which is free.

 

Take a look at this link to a book called 'Diary of a New Chum' written by a French guy who came out here over a hundred years ago. He had the knack to bring the bush alive too.

 

[PDF]

 

 

Diary of a New Chum

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You should write (or type!) your life story Bob. The extracts I have read are very vivid so I think you have a story teller's 'knack' to bring things alive. - 'Show' not 'Tell'' for instance. Or why not create a blog. Someone on here told me to do it and I made a start using 'Blogger' which is free.

 

Take a look at this link to a book called 'Diary of a New Chum' written by a French guy who came out here over a hundred years ago. He had the knack to bring the bush alive too.

 

[PDF]

 

 

Diary of a New Chum

 

That was a good yarn.

 

I did write a story...that's a laugh, a few words about my life, but it is only for my son and my grandkids...

 

...If a few jellybabies are up as a bribe, I might consider putting it on here.oops.gif

 

Cheers, Bobj.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey Bob how's it going :) tell us more!!!! :)

 

 

thumbs.gifthumbs.gifthumbs.gif

 

Trying to get the tinny ready for PP's visit. You can come as well, but you will need to piddle at the back of the tinny...bigemo_harabe_net-163.gif'Cos I aint leaving a good fishing possie.:laugh:

 

Cheers, Bobj.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That was a good yarn.

 

I did write a story...that's a laugh, a few words about my life, but it is only for my son and my grandkids...

 

...If a few jellybabies are up as a bribe, I might consider putting it on here.oops.gif

 

Cheers, Bobj.

 

Lots of people SAY they're going to write a story but not many actually do! Funny, I was down the pub the other night, got talking to the landlord, and he told me he is writing one, has done 200,000 words already. I have kept a diary more or less since 1978 and I always remind myself of that when I say I have not got a book in me!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What with the few scawls on this forum and my story, I might have a cupla hundred words all written out...tongue.gif.

 

Bugga, can't remember half the things that have happened along the way; as for a diary...an example, "windy and caught nowt, but a nice sunrise..."fishing.gif

 

Cheers, Bobj.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×