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10 years on

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Maritime

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State MP

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Editions
August 09 Edition Cover

Docklander - November 2019

29 Oct 2019

Docklander - November 2019 Image

From the docks to the harbour

When Roger Salmond began working on ships he was 15. Victoria Dock was a focal point of the shipping industry and the land around it was undeveloped.

More than 50 years later his balcony view from NewQuay Promenade looks out over Victoria Harbour. The shipping industry has moved on to the cranes west of Docklands.

“It looks completely different, there were train lines, railway carriages banked down there loading and unloading, general cargo stuff laying around, it was taken off the ships and put in those big sheds,” Roger said.

His 50-year career on the seas started with an apprenticeship as a fitter and turner. By the time he retired he was a chief engineer.

“I went to sea in 1964. I was an apprentice for five years and then I got a job on an oil tanker running up to the Arabian Gulf, Japan and the United States,” he said.

Roger spent most of his time at sea and although he and his wife Diane are from Melbourne, they were based out of New South Wales for a while to be closer to her family.

After moving back to Melbourne and later retiring, they wanted to downsize and move close to the city. They moved to Docklands six months ago.

“We’re in our seventies so the big house in Taylors Lakes was too much. We had a look around Southbank and in the city, but we didn’t actually look at Docklands too much,” Roger said.

Diane explained that they’d been put off by what others had said about the area, despite the fact that she’d always liked Docklands and they wanted to be close to the sea.

“Roger retired and he went from being away nine months of the year to coming back to this type of living, so we really wanted to be near the water,” she said.

“And when I lived in Sydney, I often thought I’d like to live in Docklands, but we didn’t really know a lot about it and everybody that we knew put it down.”

“And then I saw this place and I thought it was meant to be for us, it’s like being on holidays all the time.”

“Melbourne has not taken advantage of what it’s got, I don’t understand it, what’s different about this harbour than any of the other harbours around the world?

Roger is a member of Offshore & Specialist Ships Australia (OSSA) – a group who work out of the Mission to Seafarers and are hosting an exhibition at the library this November (see story on page 17).

His career at sea, but also his intimate connection to the maritime history of Docklands, has made him a strident advocate of Docklands as a maritime precinct and the establishment of a maritime museum.

“If they got that going, I think it would be a great asset to the city,” he said.

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