Surprised by Port Lincoln

VISITOR: Jill Bowen with Jim Pringle during her stay in Port Lincoln.
VISITOR: Jill Bowen with Jim Pringle during her stay in Port Lincoln.

I was on the cruise ship Golden Princess in January. We were all despondent at not being able to stop at Kangaroo Island because of the horrendous fires and sailed on to our stop at Port Lincoln not knowing what to expect and not expecting too much at all.

We thought it would be a lacklustre port of call. How wrong we were! The Boston Bay Jazz Band was belting out "All the Nice Girls Love a Sailor" as we left the ship.

Many of us stood and sang and left some healthy donations before starting on the lovely walk to town.

We marvelled at your working port and silos before hitting the markets on your pine-fringed beach (the pines so splendidly healthy and putting those on New South Wales' famous Manly Beach to shame).

We went to the nautical museum, queued to have our picture taken with Makybe Diva, visited historic St Thomas' Church to pray for bushfire relief and absorbed Port Lincoln through the soles of our feet before settling for a rest on your blue-tiled lounge (what a stand out!)

It was heartening to see your mayor, Brad Flaherty, on the go, spruiking the delights of the town to visitors.

Beachport eating places were jam-packed so we settled for fish and chips from The Pantry and headed for a lunch under the pines and here is where I hope someone can help me.

My partner and I shared a table with a remarkable South Australian, Jim Pringle.

Jim was a retired shearer in his 80s. He did not live at Port Lincoln, but somewhere to the north. He was a mine of information about Port Lincoln, its history, its pastoral industries.

For any question we put to him, he had a ready answer. He took time out from his own family lunch to accommodate visitors.

I promised to send him a copy of a book I had written about a history-making pastoralist from South Australia, Sir Sidney Kidman. The book is Kidman: The Forgotten King.

Jim provided his contact details in a deftly-printed hand, but I have come home and cannot find the slip of paper on which they were written.

Can anyone supply Jim's address so I may send him the book as pledged? Much thanks to Port Lincoln, you made a big deposit in the memory bank.

JILL BOWEN

Forrestville, NSW

No cash cow

There has been publicity about government fees for pontoons in the Lincoln Cove Marina Northern basin. We now live in a user-pays economy and we are forever reminded of this by our government. So lets look at the issue.

Did the government excavate the basin, supply and install the rock walls and concrete topping blocks? No, that was done by the Lincoln Cove Development Company and included in the cost of the blocks of land.

Did the government supply and fit the pontoons? No, that was done by the land owners at their cost. Does the government maintain the pontoons, collect waste, clean the pontoons? No that is done by the owners.

On a windy day does the department sends someone to check ropes and fenders securing boats? So where does the user pays rule apply? Nowhere.

This saga was started by the previous Labor government and their senior public servants who were tasked with raising more revenue for the government to spend on overpriced hospitals and flash roads for Adelaide residents.

The public service told the City of Port Lincoln it was too hard or even impossible to transfer ownership of stage one of the marina to the city council so that decisions and management could be handled by locals for the benefit of locals.

Instead the government has been using the Marina Maintenance Management Fund which was set up for such a purpose.

The only person who made any real attempt to address the issue was Pat Conlon, the then Transport Minister, but I believe that he suffered from the "Yes, Minister" syndrome and eventually gave up and retired.

The Marshall Liberal government has had two years to sort this out and it is time they did. Eyre Peninsula and Port Lincoln should not be a "cash cow" for government.

MICK BASCOMBE,

Port Lincoln

Former chairman Marina Maintenance Management Committee