The Chandris Lines stories continue ...
Since my story was published by the "Explorer Magazin" in 2007, there have been some developments. In 2009 I started a Facebook group called "SS Australis Photos n Stories and Chandris Lines". Since then, more than 630 people have joined my group. The theme is "Chandris Lines" photos and memories from the period of 1960 to 1978. Since 2009 many ex-crew and passengers have shared more than 4000 photos and many documents within this group. There are also many photos and comments for the post "Chandris Lines" ship, "American Star".
This addition to my previous story is about a reunion of crew and passengers which was held in "Brisbane" during March 2013. During this reunion, I also paid a visit to my friend Marion who was my girlfriend on the SS Australis back in 1970. The story of Marion and myself, is described in my previous publication, "Ships in the night" (it is in two parts).
Lee Crump, member of our "SS Australis Photos n Stories and Chandris Lines" group, came up with the idea of hosting a Chandris Lines reunion near "Brisbane" which is the capital city of "Queensland" on the sub tropical east coast of Australia.
She asked me if I would attend the function seeing that I am the founder of the group. I agreed of course and let Lee do the organising along with Carol Mavroidaki who was coincidently holidaying nearby at the "Gold Coast".
Lee offered to let me stay with her, at her house which is on "Coochiemudlo Island" about 30 kilometres south of "Brisbane". The island lies about one kilometre off the mainland from "Victoria Point". I would be staying one week at Lee's house which would give me time for some sightseeing.
Early morning on Wednesday the 13th of March, I flew the 2.200 km from "Adelaide", where I live, to "Brisbane". Lee kindly picked me up at the airport and we had soon driven to "Victoria Point" where we had some lunch in a nearby cafe. The official reunion luncheon was to be held on Saturday 16th of March at a nearby Winery called, "Sirromet Wines".
We boarded the car ferry and were soon underway across to the island. I admired the scenery in the 10 minutes or so it took to get across. Lee's house is wonderful, it kind of looks like a house from the South Sea Islands. We had afternoon tea while catching up on some "Chandris Lines" stories. After a while I went on a walk around the island which is about 1 square kilometre in size. I took many photos with my DSLR which was stuck on automatic, due to some damage at the airport.
I still had Thursday to look around, while on Friday we would get the ferry back to the mainland to do some shopping for the Sunday Lunch. We only just got back to Lee's house on the Friday afternoon when some of the other group members arrived at the ferry terminal. We drove down to the jetty with Lee's car, picked them up and drove them to their motel called, "Seminara Apartments".
Towards the evening the remaining group members arrived, and made their way to Lee's house. We talked, we laughed, they drank, till late at night. I stayed sober so I could drive them to their apartments.
It was now Saturday 16th of March, the day of the official reunion luncheon party. This luncheon would be held at the "Sirromet Winery" on the mainland, near "Mount Cotton" This meant a ride on the passenger ferry to "Victoria Point" where we would be ferried to the restaurant by two cars. There were ten of us in all, upon arriving I was amazed how large the winery was. The building was huge, the grounds lush and green, the views fantastic.
During the tasty lunch the conversations about the "SS Australis" continued, afterwards we toured the winery and its grounds taking many photos. Later in the afternoon we were back on the island, at Lee's house where we continued to celebrate into the night. On Sunday, we all had a lovely seafood lunch at Lee's house, by late afternoon all the guests, except me, had returned home.
I still had 3 days to spend on the island before heading home. During the evening meal, Lee and I spoke about my voyage on "SS Australis" and about Marion. Lee knew that Marion used to be my girlfriend on that voyage in 1970. Lee asked if I would like to borrow her car for a couple of days and drive the 130 km north to "Kings Beach" for a mini reunion with Marion.
I took up the offer and on Monday morning, the 17th of March, I was off to the mainland for the drive north. Good thing I brought my Tom Tom car nav with me, as I didn't know the area between the island and the freeway. After about a one and a half hours drive, I approached the "Kings Beach" turn off. From here it was another 10 minutes.
It had been ten years since I last saw Marion and I was getting very anxious. Marion knew I was coming to visit as I had phoned her that morning. I was actually going to surprise her, but Lee said to phone, just to make sure Marion was there.
It was great to give Marion a big hug and to catch up on old times. We drank coffee and chatted, she made dinner and we chatted till very late at night. When it was time for bed, I unfolded the sofa bed and was asleep, instantly!
On Tuesday morning the 18th of March, Marion and I had breakfast, chatted some more and then went on a tour of nearby "Kings Beach" and "Bulcock Beach". The lucky girl lives on a headland and both these fine beaches are but 200 metres away. "Bullcock Beach" has amazing views over the wide river to the distant "Glass House Mountains". I took many photos then we went to the Esplanade at "Kings Beach" for a Cappuccino and lunch.
Afterwards we went back to Marion's apartment where we had a couple of hours to chat before I had to head off at 3 pm. Time does not stand still, it was soon 3 pm. Saying goodbye took about half an hour ...
She still lives alone at "Kings Beach" has 3 grown up children and several grandchildren, all a dear part of her life. I have a family of my own in Adelaide which is 2.200 km from here. Such a shame that I am so far away, it would be nice to be able to pop in for a chat now and then. Just a chat! Sigh ... It hurt to say goodbye, but I was now underway, back to Lee's place at "Coochiemudlo Island". The journey back took a half hour longer due to traffic congestion ...
Wednesday 19th of March, I still had the best part of the day on the island, I loved it here. Lee was a great host, she even organised a "Chandris Lines" key ring for all the group members who attended the reunion.
Suddenly I was standing at the top of the steps at "Victoria Point" waving goodbye to the island, affectionately known as "Coochie" It was an idealistic lifestyle for me. Lee then drove me to the airport for my flight back to "Adelaide" at 2.30 pm. The return to "Adelaide" was swift, where my lovely wife Lynda picked me up. Many thanks to Lynda xxxx - without her consent the trip wouldn't have been possible ...
© 2013 Wolfram Dallwitz