The Sirocco Calls In

05 Dec

Morning Bulletin, Rockhampton, Qld. June 18, 1930



The Sirocco Calls In.



Charlie Burt Autograph, 1-90~2

Long, narrow-waisted, black-hulled,with towering stick scowing above the wharf decking, but bearing little signs of the buffeting she has received on her voyage, the Sirocco, late of Royal Sydney Yacht Club, now bound for New Guinea and the beche de mer and trochus shell, nine days up from Sydney, lies at the old town wharf.

Fifty years old, but as staunch as the day she slipped into the water for the first time at the Circular Quay slips, the Sirocco will know a different atmosphere now from the one she has been accustomed to so long. Her youthful crew know where they are going. First there is Captain Errol Flynn, late Cambridge undergrad, now planter on a lonely island 40 miles from mysterious Madang, the island of the “White Kanakas,” where he dispenses high and low justice to his 40 odd natives and bears his share of the white man’s burden.

“This is our navigator,” said Captain Errol Flynn, from under his blankets when a “Bulletin” man stepped aboard. “You’ll have to excuse me. Just a touch of malaria. But meet the crew.” Mr. T. Adams, another young Englishman, is the navigator. Close clipped moustache, accent, and physique brand him unmistakably the product of University. Mr. C. Burt, another member of the crew, is also an Englishman, and Australia is represented by Mr. Rex Long-Innes, son of Judge Long-Innes, who is going forth with the others to seek his fortune in the South Seas.

When they talked it was mostly about their argosy.

‘”She’s old, but she’s good,” says the skipper, with pride in his voice, and he told the “Bulletin” man how she logged 14 for three hours in a howling south-easter that piled them up in Coff’s Harbour with a foot of water in the cabin.

“Forty-four feet over all, with a Swedish oil engine, we’re not worrying about the weather,” they add. Already they have had their share of adventure on the trip. They made their names and took their baptismswhen they crossed the bars in northern New South Wales in howling gales. They went ashore in Great Sandy Straits, and had more than their share of rough weather but builders builded well 50 years ago, and lean-waisted as she is the Sirocco has ten tons of lead under her keel.

In the cabin, where the captain lies with malaria, where the “crew” sit round in shorts, and where two business-like rifles are fast in clips above the bunks, one might have thought yesterday that the Sirocco had reached to sea to seek their fortunes.…

— Tim


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  1. timerider

    December 5, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    I never tire of the adventure to New Guinea! Even if the story may have been stretched a little, LOL.
    To be young and fearless, sleep anywhere eat anything live on little sleep and never really tire.
    Of all the life of Errol Leslie, I enjoy the real life adventures that lead him to Hollywood. His acting career was colorful and glamorous if not a little infamous.
    I would not be like others that say they would not do it again but I would and live it even more than I did.

    • David DeWitt

      December 5, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      It’s not too late while you have breath and legs under you!