Friday, August 24, 2007

From HMAS Melbourne to dinner table

This story has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image of the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne ahead of the USS Midway in the background, courtesy wikipedia. History of the Melbourne available on Navy site.

SOME interesting conversation has floated over the dinner table in the Passage Street, Cleveland, duplex that has been home to retired fire safety officer Ross Cameron for the past eight years.
Born in the south-west Queensland town of Dirranbandi, where his dad managed the Telegraph Hotel, Ross made a significant contribution to fire safety training during his career that spanned more than 30 years.
Ross was 17 when he joined the Navy in 1953.
He was a leading-hand stoker when assigned to the massive engine room on the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne during the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

ROSS will never forget the night an aircraft crashed during pilot training.
"We were going full ahead into the wind for the aircraft but it landed in the water and we had to go from full ahead to full astern, basically into reverse," he says.
"When you do that all the pipes expand and just about blow up. They got the pilot out but the aircraft sank pretty quickly."
After his discharge from the Navy in 1962, Ross worked as engine driver on a barge dredging the Brisbane River at Bulwer Island before a 19-year stint with the airport fire service at Brisbane.
He spent four years based in Papua New Guinea on secondment to its civil aviation authority to train indigenous airport fire officers and was the last of the foreign support contingent to leave Port Moresby in 1972 on completion of the task.

PRIVATE companies headhunted most of the newly trained officers and in 1974 Ross was again seconded for another two years to train more.
Another of the major entries on Ross’s CV was that of fire safety inspector during construction of Tarong power station in the early 1980s. He also was the power station’s fire safety officer during its early operational years.
He later worked with a national emergency training company, First 5 Minutes, for eight years and was general manager before he opted for an early retirement 13 years ago. But then he went back to work after buying a convenience store opposite Toombul rail station.

ROSS says he was exhausted after five years in the shop so sold up and moved to Cleveland to be closer to family at Capalaba.
He received a free for-sale notice in our Classifieds for a 1.2-metre round dining table and four chairs ($60) and 52cm colour television with remote ($50).
Ross says the duplex he rents is on the market and he is preparing to rent "something smaller".
THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

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