Denis Gallagher, the author, is a Scot who emigrated to Australia in 1968 from the village of Whins of Milton in Scotland. Of Ships and Shoes and Scotland is a series of notes/recollections on his early life in Bonnie Scotland, in the small, two shop village of Whins of Milton, hard by Royal Stirling, and subsequently his slow northerly progress in Australia between Melbourne, Brisbane and Townsville in The Great South Land. Of Ships and Shoes also relates to his life at sea, specifically the note on the Big Glens, owned by Alfred Holt and Co, particularly Glenartney which lies hard by Benvorlich and Stùc a’ Chroin, his life on a six middy half-deck on Monmouthshire and the circumstances attendant on how Richard Holt, our senior partner, purchased Glen and Shire Line from Royal Mail in the depth of the depression. The book also includes a series of episodes of life in Oz and the Western Pacific Basin. Between 1996 and 2013, his company Ocean Shipping Pty Ltd, owned and operated nine x 5,5000 dwt, geared MPP vessels, plus another three on bareboat charter from SPS in NZ, a total of twelve ships trading worldwide, the great slump of 2008 having an adverse effect on the company, at the time of the derivative crisis and the Lehmann Bros collapse. As such, we departed the world of shipowners in 2013. The highlight of his working career was to serve with Alfred Holt of Liverpool as middy, fourth mate, third and second mate, our closure in 1989 the greatest tragedy, no different in scope to the loss of Ilium, to those who had lived in the ancient world at the time of the Odyssey and Iliad. Denis has a B. Econ, and an LLB. Hons from the University of Queensland.
He is now chairman of Hermes Maritime Pty Ltd, preparing to enter the Australian coastal trades with an experienced management team, along with his partner, Captain Steve Pelecanos who is the The Hermes Managing Director based in Brisbane, ex-head of the Brisbane Pilot Service, each team member planning our entry to the intrastate and interstate coastal trades of Australia. Denis was the master of the first Australian flag, deep sea anchor handler in the stormy Bass Strait, operating in latitude 40 South, and further south again off the east coast of Tasmania with an all MUA deck crowd, also servicing other off shore floaters and jack ups around the coast of Australia; later he was the manager of the ANL Container Terminal in Brisbane, which employed 44 wharfies. Based on his offshore and onshore work-experiences at sea and ashore with unionised Australian seafarers and wharfies, it is his conjoint belief that Australians are not only fine seafarers but also intuitive and natural stevedores of a most superior, inventive and hard-working sort, each of them a credit to their country, the Great South Land, and their hard-won and hard fought for principles of solidarity and togetherness.
In essence, this is a tale of two countries, Bonnie Scotland, where the author grew up, and Australia, a truly vast brown land of flooding rains, her inhabitants as welcoming of new chums, as those who live in the Lowlands and Highlands of Scotland. The book also relates to the people of Australia, including the work carried out by the author as part of his travels in The Pacific, with the ordinar’ folk o’ The Solomon’s, Vanuatu, Western Samoa and PNG, each country the happiest and most irreverent of places, a series of observations which will hopefully strike a chord with the traveller. No matter, I am a happy man, and one of the luckiest, with the best wife, Chrissie Joy Gallagher, married for twenty-one happy years. As a footnote of sorts, I also served with Blue Funnel of India Buildings, Water St, Liverpool, from deck apprentice to second mate, having had the privilege of serving in the company alongside great men and earth-shakers. During my time with Alfie, I have heard the beat of the off-shore wind, the thresh of the deep-sea rain, the greatest and most sublime happiness that could have been granted to a person such as I, (quite apart from being married to my beloved wife I hasten to add!).
The author is a Scot from the small (two shop) village of Whins of Milton, two miles south of the Royal Burgh of Stirling. He has always loved the sea and ships, and was master of the first Australian flag anchor handler, operating in offshore oilfields around Australia.The book covers a wheen o’ ...