Saturday, May 12, 2007

Rottnest secrets

The admirable Subiaco Post has a front-page story today that mentions Rotto.

The main gist of the yarn is something about HMAS Sydney.

The protagonist, 86-year-old Julius Ingvarson, was a 20-year-old signalman in Fremantle in November, 1941.

“At that time he worked office hours, nine to five on weekdays, but all that changed after the Pearl Harbour attack on December 7,” the Post reports.

“He worked a straight 30-hour shift, and it was another long shift that saw him kicked out of signals after he fell asleep.

“He was later made a courier for top-secret documents between Fremantle and Rottnest Island, travelling on the ferry Zephyr.

“He recalls the Zephyr being held up in autumn 1942 by the anti-submarine boom between the North and South moles, and seeing a navy corvette dropping exploding depth charges several miles south-west of the harbour mouth.

"I was sizing up the distance I would have to swim if something happened to the ferry," he told the Post.

Secrets being couriered between Freo and Rotto! And on the Zephyr, no less.

There’s a picture of the Zephyr on page 140 of ‘All The News In A Flash’ (which is, as any fule kno, the second-best book about Rotto).

The pic shows a very small jetty, the Zephyr beside it, and passengers strolling to Rottnest Board of Control charabancs.

(The pic at the top of this post can be found in the island’s movie hall).

The vessel gets a few mentions in ATNIAF: one is it transporting techies to the island when the first PMG phone exchange was opened on 1 April 1936.

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