Ralph Woodward

Good Day. I sailed with RSL as an apprentice and then 3/0 from very late 1959 until April 1966, when after obtaining my 1st Mates ticket in London, I emigrated to Australia as a 'Ten Pound Pom'.

After a short period on the (Australian) coast with ANL I decided to work ashore with BHP, initially in Newcastle NSW in their shipping operations dept. This led to a career working for the Company in industrial relations, resolving issues (of which there were many) with the various waterfront and maritime unions. Although very challenging the work was varied and interesting with close liaison with the fleet's Masters and officers. The fleet comprised bulk carriers, general cargo type vessels and even a tanker at one stage. Resolving the manning of new and chartered ships became an integral aspect of the job. I transferred to Kwinana near Perth and became mainly concerned with the iron ore mining operations in the Kimberley and Pilbara and also the steel industry at Kwinana. The work was always challenging with plenty of experience in the quasi-legal arbitration area.

Then, in 1994 after obtaining a degree (Industrial Rel's major at UWA) I transferred back into shipping as Port Superintendent at Karratha for the fleet of 4 LNG tankers operating between Dampier and Japan. Then down to HO here in Melbourne from where I worked in QA and OH&S sailing to Japan and back while coducting audits. After 33 years with BHP I 'took a package' in 2000 - and then was engaged for three stints as a consultant with them! I then took on managing a fleet of bunkering vessels and tugs for a small family concern at Williamstown, Melbourne. I retired at Christmas 2004 and now enjoy a very pleasant life with my wife about 25kms NE of Melbourne. Our three children (and grandkids) are still working and living near Perth so we travel over there quite often but love living here. I have a 26ft keelboat that we sail out on the Bay and between that and church and gardening etc activitiesI'm not sure how I found time for work.