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The Rock-itt : December 2010
pilot’s bungalow nearby, which was appreciated greatly even though they all shared the same bath water. Now washed of the brine and their bellies full, it was tim e for some serious drinking to cement their newly found friendship. They drank and sang sea shanties then drank some more and sang some more until the pilot said it was time to introduce them to the marvellous and his much loved township of Ballina. As they sang their way along the main street, locals stopped and stared at the group of happy drunks as they gave renditions of lots of different songs. Finally Ballina’s entire police force, numbering one constable, turned up and declared that their inharmonious ramblings were disturbing the peace and all would be well if they took their songs to the nearest pub and continued it there, which they did and where not long after arriving the constable joined them. The songs and drinking mixed with poetry recitals and stories continued well into the night and into the early morning. At some time or other they were turned out of the hotel back onto the street and when Errol next opened his eyes they were back on board Sirocco. Bodies were strewn everywhere across the cabin floor including the police constable and a chap by the name of George who was a local fisherman. Under the constable’s head was a bag containing three lobsters which were quickly turned into a curry for breakfast. As they sat and ate, the subject of lack of funds raised its head to which George, the Fisherman said he could remedy. He told Errol and the crew that seeing as they had a boat and he had the fishing tackle and the know-how, why not pool their resources. Ballina was a great place for King fishing, why not sell the catch which was worth threepence a pound then at the end of the day split the profit four ways. They agreed to give it a go and although at first things were a little slow soon it changed around and before long they were hauling in fish as quick as they could get their lines back into the water. Eventually George sold the catch and they pocketed eleven pounds, which in 1930 was a reasonable amount to have in ones pocket. But now after repairing the diesel and with a few pounds in their pockets it was time to begin the next leg of their trip and that was on to Brisbane. But before we move on, Errol said these words about Ballina in his novel “Beam Ends”. “Ballina is a pretty little town. Behind it and along both banks of the Richmond River, the “rolling downs” stretch out in the best pastoral country in Australia.” Having been to Ballina a few times, I have to agree it is a lovely part of the world. Before I wrap up this instalment, I would like to thank Brendon from the Shaws Bay Hotel, Kelly from the Slipway Hotel and John Atwell, all from Ballina for their help with local knowledge. Thank you to Shannon and Eddy from Ballina Colour Copy for the great photos of the hotels where Errol and the crew would have drunk and sold their daily catch of King Fish. Thank you to Ballina painter, John Hagan for his colour painting of the Australia Hotel, Ballina. If you have missed any of the instalments of “Hobart to Hollywood” and can’t lay your hands on a hard copy from one of our outlets, you can go back to when the serial started. Log onto www.therockittmagazine.com.au click on ARCHIVES at bottom right hand side of your screen for previous issues. Any problems email me on: firstname.lastname@example.org . This is the other hotel photographed in the 70s where Errol and the crew drank called “Lobster Pot”. Fishermen still freq uent it today Ballina artist, John Hag an’s colour painting of the Au stralia Hotel