Storytellers November 2019 – Sandy MacCormick a mix of life experiences

Sandy MacCormick was our storyteller for the evening and spoke about a mix of her experiences:

  • driving to Perth in the 70s, and across the Nullarbor in flood.
  • working in Karratha managing a rent a car company
  • working on a prawn trawler in the gulf for a couple of seasons

Sandy is a born storyteller and kept everyone amused and totally engaged (even Peter stayed awake) with her adventures. Many Aussies in the early ‘70’s took to travelling OS to London and the like, but Sandy chose a somewhat more daring and dangerous path which provided plenty of excellent stories to share accompanied by wonderful ‘priceless’ photographs (see some included with these Minutes).

Sandy spoke about the trigger for her adventure which was a girlfriend and herself meeting a guy who had just returned from travelling around Australia in a VW beetle. He had a map of Australia up on the wall. Lorraine and Sandy looked at each other and said “LET’S GO”

They were looking for a new adventure, so she sold her car and pooled their money and bought a 1965 VW combi van which they paid $1200. It was 9 years old! Sandy’s Dad helped kit it out. Gas bottle on the roof, fold down stove on the door, large water bottle in the back and most importantly speakers for their music.

They set off going south as it was January and too hot for north. Goulburn, Albury through Victoria to Melbourne. Ballarat, Bendigo, Echuca [paddle boat on the Murray] Swan Hill [folk museum] and onto Mildura, Broken Hill, Barossa Valley. A variety of jobs followed; salad hand, waitress and barmaid, grape picking etc. All invaluable ‘university of life’ courses. Many stories later they travelled on through the Flinders Ranges, their first bit of dirt and onto Port Augusta, Whyalla, Pt Lincoln and Dutton Bay, Ceduna and the Nullarbor.

Eventually Sandy scored a prize job in Perth at ‘LETZ RENT A CAR’ which led to an offer to manage ‘LETZ KARRATHA’ (only 1500 kms away) for a few months because they had lost their manager.

“One experience worth mentioning. I had to take a new ute to replace one coming off lease to Goldsworthy mines. The mine was the first mine in the Pilbara owned by BHP. I set off and drove all day in my little Letz uniform. Imagine…. Mini skirt… White bowler hat. The mine was 100 km past… Port Headland. I arrived at the pre-fab mine office in my little Letz uniform…They just turned around and stared…”.

Sandy’s next adventure was working on a prawn trawler in the gulf of Carpentaria. Sandy and a girlfriend wanted to save money to go overseas. They had heard about getting a job on a prawn trawler, so they went for an interview and got the job as cooks. The boat was called the KAIGEL it had been specially built by a private owner. Their job was to cook and sort prawns. This led to may more anecdotes, photographs and even some video footage.
All in all, a great evening.

Many thanks to Sandy for preparing and sharing her terrific experiences. A born Storyteller!

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