Please read below about my successful reunion, if you are interested in possibly joining future ones (we do some through our facebook page) please click on the face book icon to join our Chandris Lines face book page with 4,000 members.
In October 2004 myself and Roy Stevens embarked on a mission, remember this is 2004, there was no social media as we have now, limited internet interaction etc. We had local newspapers involved, radio talk back interviews, state newspapers and magazines. All trying to spread the word on our behalf, it was a big call and we did not know what to expect.
Soon it became apparent that we were onto something, we needed a venue so the Navy Club in Fremantle was secured for our event.
After 9 months in the planning 129 people ( Coincidence ? same number as my cabin on our trip ) attended the reunion at least some 6 or so coming from as far as the Eastern States, and to set the scene Roy dressed as a Chief Steward, with myself taking the honors of been Captain for the evening. Our ever so helpful wives Margaret and Maria dressed as Chandris Cruise directors, and were fantastic at running the boarding pass check in area, souvenir shop, and assisting in the catering.
The evening started at around 4.00pm when our guests all started arriving, all 129 people within a 30 min time slot. Our wives Maria Byrne and Margaret Stevens were kept busy whilst Roy and I tried our best to welcome all aboard by standing near the entry point. Wearing our officers uniforms and myself wearing my prized piece of memorabilia a Chandris lines Officers cap, Just seeing us in our uniforms and the ladies in theirs was enough to get people into the swing of things and getting in the mood for a wonderful time. At approximately 4.45pm the formalities began with Roy welcoming all the people to the reunion, with special mention to those coming from the Eastern States. Patrica O’Brien-Price and Julie Mullins were actually ex crew (stewardess’s and they made the trip from the Northern Territory and Victoria). All embarking passengers were given a souvenir “seascape” magazine that was a close to the real thing as possible as I had used graphics of the original seascapes. The rear of the Seascapes named all 129 passengers that attended.
Tables and chairs soon filled and whilst guests waited for the official opening they helped themselves to the bar and sat back and either chatted or watched the huge powerpoint display slowly looping through many pictures of the ship both externally and internally. Some browsed our souvenir “shop” securing their mementos of this wonderful occasion, incidentally if you would like to purchase some left over stock please see the link at the top of this page.
Many people gathered around the cabinet and tables displaying my memorabilia. The Chandris lines pennant was pinned up and proudly again flew for passengers of the Australis.
At approximately 5.00pm Roy opened the ceremony by welcoming all the people attending and after introducing the crew he gave a brief outline of the evenings events.
Then it was my turn, a little nervous at first as there were 129 people focused to the front. I opened by again welcoming and thanking all. Approximately 20mins of my speech was to do with my trip and getting the interaction of a few passengers. All supported by a few pictures projected onto the screen. I soon was made at ease as the passengers were getting involved, some laughed, some reminisced some even had a tear to their eye. They found my story and small injection of ” comedy ” amusing. At this point I began by saying that I explored the ship with my friend who was 10 at the time, I showed a picture of us at the dining table and related some stories that Brian and I got up to. I then advised everyone that through this reunion and for the first time in 28 years I had finally caught up with Brian and he was here this evening. To around of applause I welcomed Brian to the front and we “officially reunited” in front of all the people.
Raffle tickets were purchased during the evening and at around 8.30pm Roy gained everyones attention and the raffle was drawn by two ex crew Patricia O’Brien Price and Julie Mullins that came from the Eastern States and NT.
The first prize which was a copy of Larry Driscolls book on the Australis (as advertised in this site) went to Raymond Joy of Currambine. The most nostalgic part of this was that Raymond was on the maiden voyage of the ship and he was extremely happy he had won this book; I even noted a tear in his eyes as he came forward to accept the book from Roy and I. Second prize was a collection of stubby holders and a key ring with third and forth prize been a framed souvenir print that was part of our souvenir stall.
I then officially closed the reunion by thanking all those concerned and wished everyone bon voyage, we then relaxed and drank, and talked. In the background a documentary on the ship ran which had most people interested.
All up is was a bloody good night, Roy and I were ecstatic on how well it ran and how everyone was enjoying themselves. We continually had people coming up thanking us for a great evening. After the reunion I received emails and phone calls two days later I was still on a high……..
My only personal regret for the evening was that I am so disappointed that I did not get chance to talk to everyone, and those that I did it was only brief. I would love to have spoken with everyone and listened to their stories and personally thank them for coming, however with 129 guests even just 2 minutes each that’s 258 minutes, which is just over 4 hrs, and time did not permit me. Many people brought in their memories and stories and photos, and I would have loved to have read through them and see their photos.
I personally would like to thank all those that attended, like I said in my speech Roy and I were the foundation stone, but the attendees were the building blocks, so thanks to all 129 attendees, but I would also like to thank :
My wife Maria Byrne and Roys wife Margaret Stevens for their assistance on the evening and their support in getting the reunion off the ground, they looked after the souvenir store, checked passengers in and served food. You ladies looked great and did a great job…many thanks to you both
Roy Stevens…. Mate…what can I say…. what a wonderful idea you had with the reunion, it was a pleasure working with you Roy in this venture. Together we did it………cheers buddy !!!!!!
Paul Stevens, who supplied the media gear for the evening and the music. Your assistance and your much-appreciated help in everything you did especially on the night was without doubt much appreciated by all. Thanks heaps Paul, especially when I casually said during my speech, we will have the video now ………I think you dropped your drink, choked, but we worked together I stalled them and you came to the rescue…..You had more leads than Scotland Yard hanging out of the equipment you brought in, yet as quick as you could it was all in working order. Thanks heaps mate for also helping with the souvenir shop and getting them deckchairs off the deck and into the lobby on time…..
Gary Stevens who helped in setting up, thanks heaps for your help in setting up and as a stand in on the souvenir shop
Kieron Murphy, well mate, you were the about the only one that knew what went wrong and what a flap I was in, thanks for getting us the video recorder, without it I would not have been able to have done half my presentations….thanks Kieron
Simon Perry, thanks Simon for posting at short notice (from the UK) that wonderful DVD you recently took of the wreck, it certainly brought a tear to some peoples eyes when they saw what had become of the Australis