Australian Traveller Reader John Glebe from Rose Bay in Sydney recalls a time when his father worked on the Cockatoo Island Graving Dock at the beginning of World War II.
I noted with interest your article on Cockatoo Island and its Graving Dock (issue #019). It brought back many memories for me, as my father worked there, and at other sites in the city, during and in the lead up to World War II. In fact, I believe the mobile crane pictured in your article is the very one he drove.
As a young man he started out from Canada, arriving in Australia as a Merchant Seaman aboard the Arangi, when the owners decided to dispense with the crew on its return to Vancouver in 1927 because of The Great Depression.
He held many jobs in the time between arriving here and the start of WWII, when they refused to allow him to enlist, telling him instead to report to the Cockatoo Graving Dock, as by then he was a certified crane driver.
I attach this photo of my father, taken, I believe, when he was working as a dogman on the then new Prudential and Life Insurance Building on the corner of Martin Place and Pitt St. As you can see [above], it was during a time when there was a height limit imposed in the city of Sydney. He’s standing on what would become the 12th floor. – John Glebe, Sydney
This is an incredible photo, John, and one that definitely deserves to find its way into these pages so that as many people as possible can catch a rare glimpse of Sydney as a developing city. This is a real treat for us. Thanks, John. – Ed