An Australian Merchant Seaman’s Story In His Own Words – Peter Close & Bob Roest

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.

The focus of this episode is Peter Close and Bob Roest. Both joined the workforce in the 1960s when they were teenagers. As the lowest paid workers they had to work overtime to make a living and through the union they had to battle for better set pay and penalties, which had precluded them from gaining a mortgage. They recount the great comradeship, which like the miners, was the result of them needing each other. Strong unionism and union, which encouraged further study of members to become lawyers. They lament the decline of the Australian merchant navy.

Special Notes/Achievements

Picture and sound quality is low given low budget production.

Author: J Bird, 2023

Duration: 35 mins

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Film Director: Wayne Finch, John Brittain,

Film Producer: Wayne Finch, John Brittain,

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Film Key Cast: Peter Close, Bob Roest,

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Film Cinematographer: Wayne Finch, John Brittain,

Film Editor: Jennie Finch, Jamie McMechan,

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