Michael Roach

Ship name / Flight number: Oronsay

Arrival date: 09/01/1953

I arrived  on The Oronsay on 9.1.1953 and we transferred to the Farm Training Camp at Liverpool and we were given instructions regarding milking and also riding a horse.

This was quite a shock for a lad from outer London, especially as I developed asthma from the horse hair.  The staff at the Farm ensured that I received treatment at Liverpool Hospital, and the Doctor then discovered that I was sleeping on a horse hair mattress. Remedy found!

I was selected to work at Yanco with the Watts Family, but my stay there was all too brief as asthma reared it’s ugly head and the family and myself were robbed by an itinerant worker. Mr. Watts felt I would be better off in the City, as I had asthma again,so I moved to the Hostel at Homebush.

This was a wonderful place, good company and excellent management by Mr. Waite.

I then worked for McKay Massey Harris from April 1953 to July 1954.  Very good employers and I enjoyed a happy time in the Service Department with Mr. Henry, a good Manager. I certainly learnt much regarding the geography of N.S.W. due to the need for urgent parts to go by Rail to the travelling service mechanics.

I played cricket for the Company social team and also soccer for a Church side.  Life in Sydney was good and a couple of us moved out to board with a family in Ryde and then Concord.

Our group regularly read the Sydney Morning Herald for job opportunities – we were young and adventurous! Then we spotted an advertisement for young men to go to Papua New Guinea as apprentice engineers with Gibbes Sepik Airways.  So, off we went to PNG bound for Goroka in the Highlands.

Much growing up took place; the company had a marvelous esprit de corps led by Bobby Gibbes a well known highly decorated RAAF Fighter Pilot WW2.  Bob offered me a job in the operational side of the airline and I progressed to be his Manager at Wewak.

I enjoyed the Airline Industry and progressed from GSA to TAA/Australian then Qantas.  I worked in airport dispatch, management, Marketing and Sales and Finance management.  The Industry was a wonderful and exciting one and I made many friends.

I met my Australian wife in Madang, PNG.  Margaret was a Sister at the Hospital and we married in 1965.  We have three children (two daughters and a son).  Our family can boast of having five grandchildren, namely 3 young lasses and two young lads.  A loving and happy Family and we have a close relationship.

One Daughter (single) and our married son live in Canberra.  Our second daughter is married and lives in Melbourne.  We like to think that we stay as fit as possible and lead sensible life styles.

I am proud of my Australian Family and so pleased that the BBM helped me on my way.

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