Write up by Ricky Waters

Tiffs Down Under Reunion 2016

This year once again the annual reunion was organised by the Queensland branch and held in Brisbane. Attendance was down compared to previous years but some comments were that the reduced numbers proved a bonus because everyone conversed with each other more than usual. Comments also came in saying it was the best one so far. I think we have had six so far.

The venue chosen was a 13 story apartment block at Kangaroo Point Called Dockside. In fact it is adjacent to a disused dry dock and close enough to the Brisbane river to walk to a free ferry terminal which ploughs across river to both Southbank and the CBD.

Southbank is the site used for the 1988 Brisbane Expo.

The weekend commenced with a meet and greet on Friday evening attended by about 30 Tiffs and their wives. Bob Watson Series 25 One of just two organisers and the main weekend accountant put $250 behind the bar which in fact later had to be added to.(Ruddy soaks)

The wife of Nigel Woolmer from Adelaide pains-takingly managed to photograph each couple as they arrived standing in front of the white ensign which photos later were placed on the Tiffs down under website Finger food was served by two lovely waitresses (one from Ireland on a working visa) and consisted of Meat balls and dip, battered prawns and rice flower pork dumplings Small talk continued until about 22.30. and all retired mostly those that had booked to stay at Dockside. A few locals had to drive home but all managed it safely.

The Programme for Saturday forenoon and afternoon showed a Make and Mend.

All attendees were free to explore the attractions of Brisbane. The free ferry took people to The Maritime Museum, Southbank for the ferris wheel, State museum and Arts Centre plus a further ferry terminal to the Largest Koala Sanctuary in the world. The ferry then continues across the river to North Quay where exploration of the Queens Street Mall as well as the Roma street parkland gardens attracting some. Unfortunately one minor incident occurred when David Price and his wife Linda were strolling through Southbank, Linda tripped and fell rather heavily on her arm and ended up with a smashed elbow which put her out of action for the remainder of the weekend. She has since had surgery and is on the road to recovery. We all wish her well.

1830 saw us gather for the formal dinner, some even wore bow ties or cravats with their best bib and tucker.(best whistle & flute). Tables of 8 were set up each with name tags showing colour dots denoting individual choice of each particular course (quite a novel idea and very helpful for waitresses.

1900 heard the bosun’s call Hands to Dinner. Three beautiful courses were served within the Dockside Cove Bistro (Closed to the public for the exclusive use of The Royal Navy Artificers) and both red and white wine placed on each table. The bar was open for those of us that drank both beer and wine. Hopefully not at the same time. The evening continued under the guidance of our M.C, C/ERA. Knobby Barkham (series 13) and a rather extensive raffle took place, all prizes being donated.(The trouble was the sale of two types of tickets slightly different shades of blue confusing the issue but not only causing chaos but hilarity as well).

The main item being ” A Kingaroy Hamper” (Peanut Country) which was quickly and lovingly scooped up by none other than HMS Penelope’s Bill Allingham.

Another event that took place after diner was all tiffies had a chit of paper stating their name and had to append three items about themselves of which two were true and one a porky. The audience had to guess which one was the porky.

Yet a third distraction came into play taken from an old issue of the Fisgardian by none other than Bob Watson consisting of a short skit. Three or four tiffs were handed questions about what and why they chose as a preferred trade and were interviewed by a recruiting officer who un-beknowingly only needed Engine room Staff. In each case the officer managed to turn all recruits into ERA’s except for an OA on which he gave up.

The evening finished when the bar was closed and all present retired to their respective accommodation with their raffle prizes safely tucked under their arms.


Sunday morning showed promise of a beautiful autumn day. Blue skies, no wind and temperature just right. The Murrays coach ( Corporate services only) turned up on time(1000hrs) with a new 28 seater coach for the 22 partakers for the days outing

Our driver Lee was instructed to stop three quarters of the hours journey north at Pine Rivers Park where morning tea was to be held. We chose a quiet area with bar-b-que table and chairs away from children and the maddening crowd and as well as tea and biscuits Up Spirits was piped and a Tot of the original Pussers Rum was enjoyed by all who did not believe in Black Tot day

Then it was on to Old Petrie Town on the northern outskirts of Brisbane.

The main Building is the Heritage Hotel where lunch was served at precisely 1245. Most of the group chose to have steak and Guinness pie with sticky date pudding afterwards. Very adequate and well presented. We also were allowed to have a viewing of the adjacent highly polished still. These days it is not in commission due to the enormous amount of paper work involved and the cost of weekly licencing inspections now required by law. Incidentally the ERA’s were quite impressed with the steam museum and all the working models but as there were no canons on show, I’m not sure what interested the OA’s

The general manager of the whole complex which caters for quite a few weddings is none other than the son of Peter Dodd (Series 10) so it’s quite a small world. 

The coach departed right on 1400 and only took about an hour to get us all back to Dockside to enable those youngsters amongst us to have a late afternoon nap.

At 1900 hrs Sunday evening the faithful few still with us collected at the first floor reception area and all caught the lift to the 11th floor to Muddy Waters (Series 11) apartment for a trivia evening. An apartment had to be used because of the hotels restricted areas allowed where consumption of alcohol is permitted. We had three teams of four plus the quiz master and there were three small cash prizes. Teams were warned that as each team would win a cash prize we would now be considered professionals. One or two questions stumped the teams ,one of which was “what school did the first governor of NSW Arthur Philip attend in England”? The answer Royal Hospital School (my school of course) another being “Where was the Victory built”. Mind you they all got the hard questions right. The winning team (The Green Machine) consisted of Keith Parker(703) and Malcolm Privett( Series 44 )   and their wives who incidentally are both nurses so they got all human biology questions correct.

Monday morning saw us all gathered at the entrance at kick out time 1000, wishing each other farewell and hoping to meet again soon. We are hoping with our fingers crossed that the next reunion 2017 will be in Adelaide with Nigel Woolmer (series 27) as the main co-ordinator.