Avid Publications


-from Bannockburn to the Burdekin - by Sea


Denis Gallagher

Foreword by award winning author Richard Woodman

This is a book about the sea, and those who sailed in a word of seafarers and shipping that has much changed. It is written by a man who did it all, from a deck apprentice to a shipowner.

The Liverpool shipping company of Alfred Holts, more affectionately known as Blue Funnel or ‘The China’, was once the largest general cargo shipping line in the world. Holts believed in nurturing the business and its greatest assets, their employees, from within. It was a family affair in every sense.

They took in young men from all over Britain who thought  they were made of the right stuff to become seafarers. The organisations training methods were not an easy ride, because they wanted the best, the most able, and the most determined. To paraphrase a famous song,“if you could make it there, you’d make it anywhere”. So it was that Denis Gallagher, a boy from the Scottish countryside, signed up for a life at sea with Holts in the late 1950’s.... and he made it!

After a faltering start under a tyrannical Blue Funnel skipper, he carved himself a career, gaining his own masters ticket at the age of 27.His observations and adventures along the way take the reader, quite literally, to sea and around the world with him - from the burning heat and storms of tropical waters, the mysteries of the orient, to the harsh and dangerous world of ocean going workboats.

As the great shipping name of Holts began its perilous plunge into obscurity, Denis, like many of his comrades, had to offer his hard won maritime skills to make a living elsewhere. That elsewhere was to be the land down under; Australia.

He fell in love with this new land and in particular with Hawthorn Football Club, Melbourne. HFC looked to be on the verge of going bust in the late 1990’s and how Denis and many other devoted fans helped to save the club is also here. It is a love letter to Aussie rules football and to Australia itself.

From small beginnings in his adopted continent he ended up as a Master of ocean going anchor handling vessels working in very high risk environments before he built his own shipping line, Ocean Shipping Pty. with a fleet of four multi-purpose cargo vessels plying their trade around the Pacific Basin. Typically, as only an ex-Blueys man could, each vessel was bestowed with the same livery as the famous Liverpool liners and indeed, like their predecessors, were given classical Greek names.

There is a universal disbelief and pain among ex-Holts employees, ashore and seagoing, at the disintegration of Holts in the late 20th century. ‘Put Not Your Trust In Princes’, for the first time, examines forensically how it all went so wrong for Holts. How the ‘princes’ betrayed them all, and how much it still hurts.

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£17.95  INC P&P IN UK

If you live in a part of the planet that is nearer to Australia than the UK, this book is available from our Australian Distributors.

 For pricing and shipping information contact:-

Ocean Shipping Pty.
PO Box 980
Townsville, Q 4810
Tel : 61 7 4721 5568

e-mail : princes@oceanshipping.com.au

Middleview, New Road, GWESPYR,  Flintshire.  CH8 9LS . U.K
Tel/Fax: (44)01745 886769
Email: info@middleview.co.uk

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