It seemed a stretch at first.
“It’s been a long time coming but we would like to invite you to a crew reunion with as many of the old crews as we can. Quite a few have passed so maybe it’s time to remember”, wrote Ian ‘Piggy’ Peel, back in winter 2012.
But by the time Sunday 25th November rolled around, mercifully benign with sunshine and 22 degrees, St Kilda Bowling Club was crammed with old crew. You had to be known to others, as working before 1982. So that cut the list back a little, and only 200 made it on the day.
Piggy left the industry in 1984 to do a spot of charter fishing, but knew enough people who knew enough people and before you know it, hundreds of people are on an email list and they come to one place, at one time, and pay $50 at the door to defray costs.
Irene Enery helped Piggy sort it all out, and now there are a group of like minded people ready to carry the collective forwards.
Piggy has a refreshing road crew attitude, which is to keep the collective closed off “to people we don’t know.”
He says it will incorporate and get a website up, one that members use. Photographer Greg Noakes did a massive job and got almost 200 head shots, with almost all correctly named, and Piggy thinks these can go onto the website – behind the user name and password page.
“We will probably step up membership to 1995, but you have to justify why you should be a member”, he says. “It doesn’t work to say you did some load ins”.
The big outcome is the Benevolent Fund, and this is where some roadie common sense and a lack of committees, lawyers, privacy acts, red tape, criteria and procedure is essential. “We already paid a guy’s car registration for 6 months”, Piggy says.
“We need to speak as one. We have a voice”.
With many old crew facing hardship, and with an estimated 25% of all who died (Piggy has a list) having taken their own lives, some fellowship is welcome. There was no superannuation. There is no dental plan – that was in plain evidence, a lot of guys could use some teeth – it’s about respect and looking after our own.
CX will keep those outside the loop informed, and if you worked before 1995 watch for further events – a Sydney reunion is on the cards, after summer.