An Australian Merchant Seaman’s Story In His Own Words – Bernie Sorensen

Australian Workers Film Guide


Part of a series of interview segments produced by the SUA/MUA in which retired Australian merchant seamen recount their working lives at sea as well as their engagement with union campaigns and activities. Each episode features a seaman, or sometimes a pair of seamen, sharing their story in a largely unstructured and extended interview. They form an important on camera collection of oral histories about Australia’s unionised merchant seamen.

In this episode seaman Bernie Sorensen recounts how he began work in 1989 as a ship’s cook and loved the work and always looked forward to returning to work. He shares many anecdotes of a cook’s life at sea and remembers working at sea as the greatest experience of his life. He recounts the ferocity of storms and hurricanes at sea, which he describes as like “a dog getting a rat and shaking it”, after which many of the ships were ruined.

Special Notes/Achievements

Picture and sound quality is low given low budget production.

Author: J Bird, 2023

Duration: 31 mins

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Film Director: Wayne Finch, John Brittain,

Film Producer: Wayne Finch, John Brittain,

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Film Cinematographer: Wayne Finch, John Brittain,

Film Editor: Jennie Finch, Jamie McMechan,

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