Point Walter

At 8.00am the breakfast bell rang. I made my way back to the camp and headed for the Mess Hall. The main topics of conversation were about who had found a job or been allocated a house.

Hut 56, Point Walter Hostel – Tuesday 26th March 1963

Later in the week Gordon had a job interview with a firm in Perth, and as I was at a loose end, I accompanied him to have a look around the city. The manager invited me to sit in on the interview. Gordon didn’t get the job, but the manager instructed his driver to take us on a tour of the city and to drop us off wherever required. We were most impressed by the friendliness of the local people. Perth was a beautiful clean new city alongside the Swan River, a far cry from the drab winter and industrial towns left behind in the North of England.

On returning to the camp, I found a note on my bed informing me of an appointment with the Government employment officer the following Monday morning at 9.00am. Most of the weekend was spent lazing in the sun or swimming in the warm waters of the river. On the Monday morning I knocked on the door of the interview room and was introduced to an official from the employment office.

After a brief chat regarding my skills and experience the officer persuaded me to apply for an ‘A’ grade welding job even though I was unqualified.

“So, you’re a pretty good welder. I suppose your qualification papers are still on the way?”

I got the message pretty quickly. “I suppose so,” I answered cautiously.

With that, he handed me a business card to arrange an interview with the personnel manager of the City Engineer’s Office in Perth. Two days later, a time was arranged for an interview with the City Engineer. I sat in the office reception area waiting to be called, staring at the large photographs around the wall.

‘Windham Dam’ was the title of one of the pictures. ‘The Ord River Scheme’ filled the opposite wall. My palms started to sweat. I’ll never be able to weld that stuff, I thought to myself.

The receptionist looked up. “You can go through now Mr Jones.”

The City Engineer sat behind a large desk. The room was adorned with the same type of pictures as the reception office. He silently looked at my references, then stared at me from above his reading glasses.

“So, you’re an ‘A’ grade welder eh?”

“Yes, my certificates are still in the mail.”

The interview was short and business-like. “The job is based in a country town – Narrogin. I’ll give you the job on condition that you do an on-site welding test when you get there.” With that he signed a form and handed it to me.

“This is a railway travel warrant. It will get you to Narrogin. You can start work as soon as you get there – if you pass the test.” He stood up, shook my hand and showed me out.

As I walked to the bus stop, I unfolded the form and read it carefully. “Where the hell is Narrogin?”

The Essex – ‘Easier Said Than Done’  1963
I got a love so true
But I’m sad and blue
Cause it’s easier
Easier said than done

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