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.

A practical stand against violence against women

TAKING A STAND: Taekwondo black belt and owner of Strike Martial Arts, Shane McKeahnie, is holding free self-defence classes for women later this month.

Black belt offering course in martial arts

Pacific Highway lanes reopen after 4WD, trailer crash

Crash involving a 4WD and a trailer causing disruption to traffic

Vanessa is ready for a new challenge

Ballina local, Vanessa Farrell, 25, was welcomed into the Australian Army today through an Appointment Ceremony at Brisbane Defence Force Recruiting Centre. She will now travel to the Royal Military College-Duntroon in Canberra to commence her training as a General Service Officer.

Vanessa Farrell was one of 79 recruits appointed to Duntroon

Latest deals and offers

Guide to the ‘perfect day’ on the Northern Rivers

GOT visitors in town and not sure where to take them for the “Northern Rivers experience”?

A practical stand against violence against women

TAKING A STAND: Taekwondo black belt and owner of Strike Martial Arts, Shane McKeahnie, is holding free self-defence classes for women later this month.

Black belt offering course in martial arts

Pacific Highway lanes reopen after 4WD, trailer crash

Crash involving a 4WD and a trailer causing disruption to traffic

Vanessa is ready for a new challenge

Ballina local, Vanessa Farrell, 25, was welcomed into the Australian Army today through an Appointment Ceremony at Brisbane Defence Force Recruiting Centre. She will now travel to the Royal Military College-Duntroon in Canberra to commence her training as a General Service Officer.

Vanessa Farrell was one of 79 recruits appointed to Duntroon

Poisoner robs preschoolers of friend

Wollongbar Community preschoolers look mournfully at the figtree in the preschool grounds which was poisoned during the school holidays.

Wollongbar kids return to school to find beloved figtree poisoned.

How an interview became a contact with my loved one

Spirit medium Charmaine Wilson brings messages of love and healing to those suffering the loss of a loved one on her Mystical Messages Tour.

During a chat to medium Charmaine Wilson

Pokémon Go makes Ingress into Clarence Valley

Pokemon Go player Dan Optland is pictured in the game w ith a "Pidgey" Pokemon he lured to a Pokestop at the Clarence Valley Conservatorium.

Pokemon Go Pokestops evolved from hard work of unsuspecting friends.

Kim Kardashian West bemused by selfie 'drama'

Kim didn't expect her naked selfie to cause the stir it did

Alicia Vikander hasn't been home since Oscars

Alicia Vikander "hasn't been home" for nearly nine months.

Tom Hiddleston not worried about relationship attention

Attention doesn't bother 'authentic' Hiddleston

Robbie Williams and Ayda Field to expand family?

Robbie Williams and Ayda Field want more children.

Licking incident bars Ariana from performing at White House

Ariana Grande has been blocked from performing at the White House

Taylor Swift's ex throws support behind Kanye West

Calvin Harris shares a sing-along with Kanye West

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started