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.

Quick thinking from market organisers may have saved lives

The tree that cracked in half and fell at Mullumbimby markets this morning.

Tree falls down at Mullumbimby markets

OPINION: The great white shark hype

Great white shark smiling in the blue ocean

If there's a shark sighting, I want to know about it

Hand-painted in love

INSPIRATION: Jess Fletcher and her hand-painted surfboard.

Cancer Council fundraiser Jess Lambert is raffling off a syrfboard.

Local Partners

New deputy mayor signals fresh priorities

The first meeting of the new Byron council was a friendly affair, complete with singing from two councillors and the election of the new deputy mayor.

Byron home wins prestigious architecture award

HIGH FLYER: Gull House by Harley Graham Architects took out the hotly contested Residential Architecture - Houses (New) at the Australian Institute of Architects' NSW Country Division Awards.

Two Byron firms have won architecture awards.

Quick thinking from market organisers may have saved lives

The tree that cracked in half and fell at Mullumbimby markets this morning.

Tree falls down at Mullumbimby markets

OPINION: The great white shark hype

Great white shark smiling in the blue ocean

If there's a shark sighting, I want to know about it

Hand-painted in love

INSPIRATION: Jess Fletcher and her hand-painted surfboard.

Cancer Council fundraiser Jess Lambert is raffling off a syrfboard.

Forza Horizon 3 review: Australia's never looked so good

Fancy racing a freight train?

Byron Bay, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Twelve Apostles feature

Margaret wins silver at over-85s world tournament

TENNIS STAR: Byron's Margaret Fisher has won the silver at the women's over-85 world tournament in Croatia.

Byron's Margearet Fisher takes tennis silver in Croatia.

WAVE RAVE: Aussies third in Portugal

WAVE RAVE: The Australian Team that went to Portugal. Photo: REZENDES

THE 2016 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship finished in Portugal

The Space Cowboy, our Prince of the Impossible

SPELLBINDING: The Space Cowboy, Byron Bay's Chayne Hultgren, on the microphone.

The Voodoo Review is on this weekend

Lady Gaga confirms Super Bowl show

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga to perform in coveted spot

Girls actors give emotional tributes to hit show

Actor Allison Williams

Actors farewell smash hit HBO show Girls after six seasons

Janet Jackson's pregnancy is 'best thing'

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson can't wait to become a mum

Jay Z signs two-year movie and TV deal

Rapper Jay Z

Rapper Jay Z has signed a television and movie deal

Nowhere to Hyde: Matt Nable is Australia's man in demand

Matt Nable stars as Detective Gary Hyde in the TV series Hyde & Seek.

NABLE returns to the small screen amidst busy film work.

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E7: Manifest review

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction

Peppers Airlie Beach put on the market

ON THE MARKET: Peppers Airlie Beach is being for recievership sale by CBRE Hotels and PRD Nationwide Airlie Beach.

Peppers Airlie Beach is being offered for sale.