Tuesday, 17 March 2009

My Dad's Gone Fishing ... 3.7.1915 - 14.3.2009

Dad was born in Heaton near Newcastle on July 3rd 1915.

Dad was the eldest son of Sidney and Ethel. They were ‘dirt poor’ and Dad would tell you how, from his earliest days, he would rather fish than anything else.

He described himself as a wild scrawny kid. He wagged school to fish, left school to fish and he changed schools half a dozen times. His Mum even sent him to St. Bernard’s Catholic School at Matraville hoping the nuns would straighten him out but fishing remained number one.

His Dad was an itinerant sign writer. When his Dad wasn't working my Dad managed to bring home a feed of oysters, cockles or leather jackets. He caught blackfish/ Luderick, the fish that became his favourite, at Bunberra Point near Bunnerong.
Dad would also take home wood from foreshores of Botany and would follow the coal truck, picking up coal that fell off to keep the family in light and heat for cooking and water. He knew two old blokes who had a camp out at “Pussy Cat” a spot on Botany Bay. Dad used to go there to bludge sandwiches from them when there was no food at home and to pick up any fishing gear they saved that washed up.

By 14 Dad had left school for good. By 15 he was sent away from home because of the depression to the north coast to go fishing as a paid job with his Uncle.
At 18 Dad joined the 55 battalion Militia at Zetland, like today’s army reserve, then transferred to the the regular army because there were no jobs at that time. His Dad had died and he needed to support his Mum, brother and two sisters.

Fishing played a major role in Dad's life and when he married he supplemented his wage by selling fish on the beach at Bondi and to the Bondi Fish Shop. His beloved wife was a ‘fisherman’s widow’, she never complained. He lived and dreamt fishing, he made all his own rods, reels, sinkers and floats and had his name and photo in the newspapers because of it. He also used fishing as an excuse to go shagging…

They called Dad the "Pied Piper." No matter where he fished whether it was the Merk at Bondi where he built the first ladder down the cliff, on a break wall or the banks of the Georges River - when no-one else could catch any Dad would be reeling them in!

Despite his meagre beginnings Dad became a fitter and turner by trade and rose to become a cost investigator, costing weapons and missiles with the Department of Defence, a good provider and an extremely private man with unique esoteric beliefs.

Now he's gone fishing fishing again … Hoo Roo Dad!

Photo taken 1942 ... handsome devil!


Dina said...

Your dad sounds awesome.

I'm sure he IS fishing...wherever he is.

I'm sorry for your loss.

Your tribute is beautiful.

Gill said...

{{hugs}} A lovely tribute to your dad. Thinking of you, it's never easy...

Faye said...

Have been thinking of you and your family... What a lovely story of your Dad's life and a lovely tribute to him...
hugz - FDS

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