Gary Oakley - Unloading HMAS Sydney

Running time
1 min 44 sec
Date made
Place made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


You'd come in early in the morning, just on sunrise or just before sunrise, you would anchor, they'd put the small craft, small boats, and the landing craft, if they weren't used, in the water and they would be dragging for divers, for swimmers and whatever.

You worked in the daylight hours, as soon as it started to get dark, you up anchored if you had not got all your … we trained and trained and trained and I remember we went to New Zealand just to train how to unload stuff and put stuff on because they wanted us to do it as quick as possible. So, we would try to get everything done before sunset, before dark.

Once you'd finished, you went out. If you hadn't finished, you would then go back out to sea, open sea, sail around till next morning, come back in but you never stayed overnight because it was judged to be too dangerous to stay overnight, because you can't see what's going on in the water … we never had to stay overnight.

We’d get in and get them done really quickly. And the trip on and off stuff was pretty quick, because the off going unit group would be all lined up in the hangars. And they'd all be relegated to one an aircraft or helicopter or landing craft.

So they'd all be ready to go on their little blocks. And as the Chinooks came in and discharged, the troops coming out, they'd go down one side of the boat down inside, and the other one would come out and go in, so it was pretty quick.

The stuff that took time was when we had all these International trucks and engines and stuff and all that and we had to unload them. And that was, yeah, you were flat chat, flat chat until you got it off.

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