Good conditions; but the view's ferry monotonous
By Patrizia Reimer firstname.lastname@example.org TRAVELLING back and forth across the Richmond River at Ballina 160 times a day like a latter-day Huck Finn does not drive Brock Wager around the bend.
Instead the Burns Point Ferry engine driver says he could not think of a better way to make a living.
The ex-trawler owner and skipper is perfectly content sitting in his comfortable cab, picking up cars on one side of the river and ferrying them to the opposite bank two-and-a-half minutes later.
"I've been on ocean trawlers and tugs before - this is a lot easier," the 62-year-old said.
"I'm talking to different people all the time and have met people from all over the world."
He has been in the job 15 years and has no intentions of leaving. He encouraged anyone with sea-going experience to give it a go.
Fortunately a rare chance to do that has just popped up with the ferry's operator, Ballina Shire Council, seeking a casual and a permanent driver to join the existing team of six.
This is the first time in more than two years a position has come up. It may also be the last for a while as current drivers (if you'll excuse the pun), such as Brock, are so happy to keep plying their small stretch of river. Council's manager of risk and human resources Kelly-Anne Lee said several people had enquired about the positions. Applications close this Wednesday, March 12.
"This role requires individuals to have marine engine driver's experience and qualifications," Ms Lee said.
"Individuals cannot operate the ferry without these skills, tickets and experience. All of the existing permanent and permanent part-time ferry operators have been with council for a number of years. Council recruited the casual position in 2005."
Job details are available from Council on 6686 1443 or by downloading an information package at www.ballina.nsw.gov.au.