Every old photo tells a story and this one of a Boat Harbour crew in 1950 is no different.
Every fishing crew has a “spotter”, someone who sits in a high vantage point to see the approaching school of fish. On this occasion the spotter was George Pain Snr.
In the photo you can see a spotting tower, built for the purpose, however, on this day the sun was in such a position that the glare prevented him from seeing along the coast, so he decided to climb up a nearby banksia tree to get a better angle.
Banksia trees have fragile branches and unfortunately the branch George had climbed snapped resulting in him landing on his back on the rocks below. In great agony and unable to move George was carried to the fishing truck which drove him to the Stockton ferry then across the Hunter River to the Newcastle Hospital.
“How did you sustain the injury Mr Pain?” asked the matron.
“I fell out of a tree”. George replied.
“Men your age should not be climbing trees. What were you doing?”
“I was looking for mullet,” was the fisherman’s answer.
“What have you been drinking Mr Pain?” The matron demanded.
Here endeth the lesson!
Fishing writer, author and radio presenter John “Stinker” Clarke can be heard weekly, throughout NSW, on popular ABC Regional Radio fishing program “The Big Fish”. Check him out on www.stinker.com.au or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your information and questions.