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.
"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."
Priced for a quick sale is this beautiful, level 825sqm block of land with DA approval for a modern northerly facing 3 bedroom home - with registration due in...
Only 7km's to Mullumbimby is this immaculately presented property including a home, workshop and self-contained separate studio. Surrounded by a large acreage and...
UNDER CONTRACT.......Quality vacant land is fast becoming scarce. Just listed is this ideal building block located in a central Ocean Shores position which is...
UNDER CONTRACT.....Within 15 minutes drive to our magnificent North Coast beaches and mere moments to the local shops is this well presented residence in peaceful...
This 129 acre former dairy farm offers a rare opportunity to purchase a large parcel of prime land only 30 minutes from the coast. Farmed for three generations for...
Located in the tightly held enclave of Old Byron Bay is this beautifully presented master built home with a two lane access. Incredibly private and only a stroll...
High above the world renowned surfing beaches at Lennox Head is one of the finest examples of modern architecture, capturing through the extensive use of floor to...
This is a deceased estate. The property will be sold on or before Auction. Positioned in one of the most sought after addresses in the 'old part' of Byron Bay...
This large family home is positioned in a quiet cul-de-sac within a comfortable walk or bike ride to Byron Bay's CBD, Main Beach and a short walk to Tallow Beach...
Set on the ridge with spectacular north easterly views over Shelley Beach and water views to the south over Shaws Bay, this property is in a fantastic location and...
Join the Community.
Get your local news, your way.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.