Lifestyle

Who pays the ferry master?

JOHN Gallagher could have the best job in the world.

His "office" has ultimate water views and so he spends his days (or nights, depending on the shift) taking in the beautiful scenery of the Richmond River.

He also gets to meet "heaps of interesting people" while keeping an eye out for dolphins, sharks and fish.

Mr Gallagher is a ferry master on Burns Point Ferry at Ballina.

It's a job the 67-year-old has been doing for 10 years.

"I was a commercial fisherman for 45 years, but when I sold my licence back to the gov- ernment I wasn't sure what to do," he said.

 

HEAVEN SENT: John Gallagher in his office, left; the river at Ballina, below left. Below right, the Burns Point ferry.
HEAVEN SENT: John Gallagher in his office, left; the river at Ballina, below left. Below right, the Burns Point ferry.

"Then this came up and I've been here ever since.

 

"Getting this job was like something from the gods.

"I love it."

Ferry drivers, particularly those qualified to operate wire-drawn ferries like the one at Burns Point, are few and far between.

Drivers are required to have a unique set of skills, such as a licence to operate as a master or engineer of a vehicular ferry in chains, or a Marine Engine Driver Grade 3 licence for restricted vessels in chains.

Ballina Shire Council's human resources manager, Kelly Brown, said the council was now looking for casual ferry drivers to help relieve drivers during the busy holiday peri- ods.

"We need our staff to be able to take leave," she said.

"So there are positions available.

 

"But yes, because the skills required are unique, it can be difficult to get people to fill those jobs."

Mr Gallagher said working on the ferry was an ideal job for people who loved the water.

He said it was also good for people who enjoyed variety in their work.

"I had one lady, about five years ago, who was giving birth in an ambulance while I was driving the ferry," he said.

"There was also a break-in at one of the caravan parks once, and the police rang me and asked me to keep an eye out for these three fellows.

"I had them on the ferry and when they realised the police were waiting on the other side of the river, they were about to jump into the water.

"Then the policeman yelled out, 'I wouldn't do that if I were you'.

"The fellows got handcuffed to the ferry railing ... it certainly kept the ferry crowd entertained."

Mr Gallagher loves the ferry and hopes a bridge is never built to connect South Ballina to Ballina proper.

"I don't see this (ferry) dying for a long time yet."

Topics:  burns point ferry richmond river


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Our hidden treasures

TREASURES: Ballina MP Tamara Smith two local treasures with Patricia Templemen and Dawn Sword.

Regional treasures uncovered

Flicks in the Field returns for New Year's

FIELD OF FILMS: Bangalow locals Melanie, Lyle, Kristen and Suzy enjoying the atmosphere at last April's Flicks in the Field.

BANGALOW Flicks in the Field drive-in cinema is returning

NSW lightly loosens liquor, lockout laws

Critics say the relaxed lockout laws are still too stringent to promote a thriving night life.

Bottle shops will be allowed to stay open until 11pm

Local Partners

Joey survives after koala stomped on by cow

"Mum was literally stomped to death and the little joey had a broken arm and broken leg."

Kernaghan's a 'boy from the bush' with a timeless quality

Country music singer Lee Kernaghan.

Lee Kernaghan is celebrating the 25th year of his breakthrough song.

Local acts to hit the stage at Falls Byron

Angie Jeann and Merryn Boller watch Falls Director Brandon Saul and GM of Top Shop Aaron Montano strum a few tunes.

Artists from across the Northern rivers set to go on stage

Local band returns to deliver the music goods

BAND: Louie Swain, Anatole Serret, Noah Hill, Jules Crommelin and Patrick Hetherington.

Playing a homecoming free gig on Thursday in the area

Louis Tomlinson's tribute to late mother

Louis Tomlinson's new single is a tribute to his late mother.

Justin Timberlake stuns students with secret class

Justin Timberlake stunned high school students in Sydney

Carrie Fisher says Ford will be bugged by affair confession

Carrie Fisher is sure Harrison Ford is annoyed at her

Dakota Fanning rekindles romance with childhood sweetheart

Dakota Fanning rekindles romance with ex

Jennifer Lawrence apologises to the people of Hawaii

Jennifer Lawrence sorry for 'offensive' story

Cruz Beckham's single a 'one-off'

He is not planning to launch a full-time music career yet.

'Crucial' farm land eyed by defence department

Lawson Geddes moving the Brangus cattle to higher ground - which is the land the Defence Department is interested taking for the Shoalwater Bay expansion.

"You can't have one without the other.”

Former Shark Show for sale for $1.3 million

Vic Hislop at the old Shark Show.

TALK about a jaws-dropping real estate opportunity.

There's a whole lot of luxury in this home

The Endeavour Foundation's latest prize home in Mountain Creek.

WHEN it comes to desirable homes, it's hard to go past a prize home.

WATCH QTV: The highlights of your $150 million CBD

GRAND PLAN: The highlights of the Ipswich CBD redevelopment and where they will be located.

Work on city heart's radical transformation to begin next year

VOTE IN OUR POLL: Sand mine opponents face serious dilemma

Public meeting for the proposed sand mine at Maroochydore last week.

Coast MP calls on Minister to stop KRA proposal with stroke of a pen

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!