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Sunday, December 6, 2009


Photo taken by Brian (Bronco) O'Neil
Gordy (standing on the right) on the Iron Monarch 1962
From the left, Eugene Augustyn and Kenny Swift.
We are towing a lifeboat into Warnambool from an aborted rescue early that morning.

Photo Credits: Don Ross Collection
Arriving Port Adelaide Outer Harbor

Photo Credits: R A Priest

These are pics of my first ship, The BHP vessel SS Iron Monarch, I went to sea on her on the 2nd of April 1962. I was 14 years old at the time and didn't turn 15 till the 14th of July of 1962
I spent approx. 10 months of my deck boy time on her and later re-joined as AB on a total of four different occasions.

The Iron Monarch was an old BHP vessel built during the war (1942) at Whyalla South Australia. She sailed in many convoys during the 2 WW. After a long fruitful life she eventually went to scrap in 1972.

The bosun was Alan Renwick and his brother Angus was the Donkey man. Laurie Sumner was the Store Keeper and they all spent a number of years together on the Monarch. Another two old sailors were a part of that ship board family also...very well known on the coast, namely Kenny Swift and Charlie Brooks

I enjoyed my time with all these guys. A couple I associated with and very thankful for their encouragement / education during that time were two sailors from Adelaide Brian (Bronco) O'Niel and JoJo Barton.

It was a good job for young fellows willing to learn the ropes as young seamen as she was one of the last real conventional ships on the Australian coast, everything from squaring up, steering and breaking out the gear took much manual labour...definitely no automation here.
Need I mention hatch boards? They were bloody heavy!!!

The Iron Monarch in her war time livery. Note the big cannon
on her poop...she also had ack acks on each wing of the bridge.
The Iron Monarch took part in a number of convoys during WW2

Leaving Rapid Bay After loading Limestone from the 'T' head
I did a number of trips there and to Ardrossan also.