£10 Assisted Passage (Australia)

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maggie T
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£10 Assisted Passage (Australia)

Post by maggie T » Fri May 23, 2008 10:33 am

Hi,Group. It would be interesting to hear from ThreeTowners,who went out to Australia on the £10 passage. IT was called,The Lawny Scheme. It would be nice to hear your experience of,the port you sailed from and what was the name of the ship. What where your destinations?

We travelled on this Scheme. My son was only 5month old at the time. I remember the day we left,4-5-62. We began our long journey, leaving from South Beach Station to Glasgow Central. We then went on the night sleeper to London, Euston Station. The next day we travelled to Southampton to board the Ship which was called The Castile Felice. I remember the queues we had to wait for hours before we go on board. Next stage of our journey sailed down the Med along to Port Said. Docked there then on to Aden. Continued on through the Suez Canal, out onto the Red sea.Then all the way to Fremantle.

It was a amazing journey, apart from sea sickness at the start, everything else was great. The food on board was good, cabin on A-deck which was really good suited me with the baby. Made friends with a couple from LiverPool they where on route to Melbourne, Amy and Charlie, cant remember surname, lost touch,wonder where they are now? WE landed at Fremantle on 1-12-62.We had a long time to wait for our luggage.After a while we were told that we would be going to Point WAlter Hostel. A long amazing journey comes to a end. No silly me decides i want to do it all over again in 1967.This time on The Anglina Lura.I would do it again if i got the chance (if it was £10)?

Kinds Regards MaggieT.

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Re: £10-Assisted-Passage.

Post by Mac » Sat May 24, 2008 12:00 am

Although not on the £10 assissted package scheme I sailed to Australia in September 1959 on board the SS Southern Cross. We also sailed from Southamton and the trip, of 6 weeks and 1 day, was via Las Palmas, Cape Town, Durban, Freemantle, Melbourne and eventually to Sydney. It was a great journey. I still remember well, the crossing the line ceremony. I'll dig out the photos of that trip one of these days.

The family returned to Stevenston in 1962 but I wanted to get back to Australia where I'd had such a great time. I wanted to apply for the Assisted Passage but I was under 18 years of age and my father would not give his consent so my life took another direction. On occassions I've thought about what might have been but, on the whole, I think it unwise to dwell for long on the question "What if...?.

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Re: £10-Assisted-Passage.

Post by Hughie » Sat May 24, 2008 12:15 am

Great topic Maggie T, :D
I'll try to get a post to this topic about our experiece as "£10 tourists" think there was a book written by that name. Got home duties to attend to this Saturday morning.

In the meantime, maybe Chris Olsen will jump in and tell about his trip on the Castile Felice. We went down to Station Pier in Melbourne to pick him and BIL Peter McGurk up - would have been 1967 I would think. Bandaged heads and I think there was a broken arm there too. They had a rough journey through the Great Australian Bite.

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Re: £10-Assisted-Passage.

Post by morag » Sat May 24, 2008 5:10 am

I have great admiration for people who took the great leap of moving to an utterly different country, talk about putting all your eggs in one basket! But Scots have ever been the ones to rove and be curious, I mean that in a guid way 8)
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Re: £10-Assisted-Passage.

Post by Sarah » Sat May 24, 2008 5:38 am

Remember that trip very well Maggie T, left the same time you did May 62, but on the SS Strathmore it was her last run, took the same route you did. Will wait till Hughie starts up a site for this topic, before I give our first few weeks in Oz. I don't think I will ever forget the experience, but can look back and laugh now..
Sarah

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Re: £10-Assisted-Passage.

Post by chriso » Sat May 24, 2008 8:37 am

Quote from Hughie
In the meantime, maybe Chris Olsen will jump in and tell about his trip on the Castile Felice.

I remember the assisted passage with some fond memories.
Peter McGurk (Betty's brother)and myself left from Southampton in January 1967 on board the Castel Felice which was around 12,000 tons and was built in Glasgow in 1930 by A Stephen and sons. (see link )www.istrianet.org/istria/navigation/sea ... lfelice.)I remember saying to Peter when we first saw it “ Jeez look at the size of that, it looks about the same size as the Glen Sannox” (which was a slight exaggeration.)
We had a cabin, along with 4 other guys from England which slept 3 double bunks, and it took 5 weeks to reach Australia. The cabin was right next to the dining room.
Shortly after leaving Southampton we were entering the bay of Biscay when we came across these giant rollers, The waves were so broad across the top that the whole ship would rise up and then it would go down the other side in a sort of corkscrewing motion. It was a weird sensation because the sea wasn’t really rough. I remember going for dinner that evening and the dining room was next to empty (only me and another guy from our cabin made it, the rest were giving it the old Hughie.)
I was sharing a table with this welsh couple and their son. The father was saying how hungry they were,and couldn’t wait for dinner. we were served the first course of soup and were waiting for the next course when the rolling motion of the ship started having an effect on me so I excused myself and staggered back to the cabin where I lay on my bunk feeling terrible. I wasn’t actually sick but I came close. However the next day we had our sea legs and were all feeling much better.

We sailed through the med and arrived at Port Said where all the locals would come out in there little boats and try to sell things to us. They would put whatever they were selling in a little basket and throw the rope up to you, which you pulled up and then put the money in and lowered it down to them.
We then entered the Suez Canal where some passengers left the ship for a tour of the pyramids and met up with the ship at the other end of the canal. I can’t remember how long it took to go through the canal, probably a few days, but I remember it was freezing on deck at nights.
One memory that stands out in my mind was one night me and Peter were sitting in the mini café at the rear of the ship (Where all the younger people hung out) although it was empty that night. We were sitting drinking coca cola(I wasn’t very much into alcohol then)and listening to the music coming from the speakers, and one particular song stuck in my mind, it was “house of the rising sun” I’ve always loved that song which is one of my all time favourites. Memory is a strange thing although reading through what I have just written it doesn’t sound very special, but it was a kind of surreal experience at the time.

There is a point where the canal breaks into 2 sections one northbound and one southbound. So you could look across the sand and see large ships going the other way which was a strange sight.
Just a couple of months later the canal was shut when the six day war started so we just made it through in time.
We then entered the red sea when one Friday night just as we were finishing our dinner, an announcement came over the tannoy saying that we were going to stop to take an injured seaman , (who had broken his leg) off a tanker, as we had a doctor on our ship.
We all gathered at the side of the ship to watch the proceedings, what a pantomime that was.
Firstly the crew got into a lifeboat and as they were lowering it into the water one end went down fast and the crew all tumbled to the low point, then the other end did the same and they all fell the other way. Eventually after much arguing they got the boat in the water, started the engine and went across to the tanker. After about an hour the boat came back with the injured party, the crew were rowing the boat as it turned out they had fankled a rope round the propeller and the engine broke down.
They then strapped the injured seaman to a stretcher and attached it to a winch to haul it on board. There was a slight swell on that night and the ship was swaying from side to side as a result when they were winching the stretcher up the poor guy was banging his broken leg off the side of the ship and you could hear him yelping in pain. I turned to peter and said “After that performance god help us if this ship sinks”

When we were approaching Aden we were lying on the deck sunbathing when this almighty roar frightened the life out of us, it was an R.A.F. sabre jet which skimmed across the water right over the ship about 30 feet above us. The pilot did this several times and we could see the ships captain shaking his fists at him.

We were allowed ashore to the duty free shops with a warning not to go in any taxis because of the trouble there at the time. The place was crawling with soldiers from a Scottish regiment and I was speaking to some of the lads who told me that a guy I knew from Stevenston was stationed there.
We were warned that the place was infested with fleas, and they were spot on about that.

Next we sailed across the Indian Ocean and me and Peter went on a tour of the bridge and I was looking at the charts with the ships course plotted on it and I noticed that it went through the middle of the Maldives and our position was very close to them. I asked the officer if we would see the Islands soon and he told us that we would be hundreds of miles away when we passed them.
The next morning when we looked out our porthole we could see an Island about 2 miles away.
(So much for Italian navigation).

As we neared the Australian coast at Freemantle, we were on the deck watching the shoreline and the thing that struck me was this peculiar smell coming from the land. I remember turning to Peter and saying it must be Kangaroo s***e.

We got a few hours ashore at Freemantle to allow some of the immigrants to disembark and we spent some time looking around and stretching our legs as we had been at sea for about 2 weeks.

We then left Freemantle and headed across the Australian Bight, what an experience that was
For three or four days we sailed through this horrendous storm, it must have been a force ten gale.
We couldn’t sleep at night because the ship was heeling over so much that you would have been thrown out of your bunk. I remember we played monopoly all night and you had to hold onto the board and your markers to stop them crashing to the floor.
Meals were a problem as well as you had to hold your plate with one hand and eat with the other.
When we were in freemantle there was a Volkswagen beetle loaded on to the deck for the voyage to Melbourne. The crew had to lash it down with ropes which had to be pulled so tight to stop in moving that the roof was crushed in due to the severity of the storm.
Me and Peter were sitting in the minicafe having a coke when the ship tottered over even more so than usual and Peter fell backwards of his chair and hit the back of his head of the corner of a table I saw a huge lump rose right before my eyes then it burst open and started bleeding. He had to go to the sick bay to get it stitched.
It was really frightening at times when an extra large wave would smash into the ship every now and then , and the ship would roll over so far that you thought it was going to capsize but it always managed to swing back at the last minute.
The water was pouring in through our cabin roof as well so we didn’t manage any sleep for the duration of the storm.
At last we got to Melbourne and docked. I think it was a Saturday night andHughie and Betty were there to meet us but we were told we could’nt get of the Ship till the next morning.
This was just a few of many bits and pieces I can recall.
All in All it was the best tenner I’ve ever spent.
Chriso.
Last edited by chriso on Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: £10-Assisted-Passage.

Post by elvis1913 » Sat May 24, 2008 9:37 am

Great post chriso I got carried away and thought I was reading a page in one of Ian Fleming's novels, would make a fantastic ''Recollections'' if you haven't already done so. :clap: :clap: :clap:

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Re: £10-Assisted-Passage.

Post by mckay47 » Sat May 24, 2008 10:58 am

Hi Chris,
Enjoyed all your recolections. Well done. :)
Betty

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Re: £10-Assisted-Passage.

Post by maggie T » Sat May 24, 2008 11:32 am

Hi.Mac, I agree what you say (if) .I have often thought that to ,IF? only .MaggieT.

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Re: £10-Assisted-Passage.

Post by maggie T » Sat May 24, 2008 3:02 pm

Hi,Chriso, Congratulatoins on your Excellent post.Do agree with you about the size of the ship .
It was small compared with the other Liners.The main thing we got there safely.Cheers MaggieT.

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Re: £10-Assisted-Passage.

Post by morag » Sat May 24, 2008 7:11 pm

Riveting, chriso, what an experience!
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Re: £10-Assisted-Passage.

Post by Catherine Belle » Sun May 25, 2008 1:32 am

chriso wrote:.........I turned to peter and said “After that performance god help us if this ship sinks,..........”
loved that bit 8)
Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

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