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 Dallas Kaye Porter recounts his working life as a sea cook on BHP iron ore carriers, which had good overall conditions, although there was no safety gear back then. Discusses flags of convenience and how there was always tension between union members and scabs. There were lots of characters on the ships.
The Seaman’s Union meant everything to him and he has gotten involved to give something back. Laments that BHP is not the shipping entity it used to be and that there is little left of the maritime industry thanks to the Howard Government.
Picture and sound quality is low given low budget production.
Author: J Bird, 2023