The Japanese ship, Kianno Mara, arrived this week to take the Bass Strait veteran, Oonah, on her last voyage -- to the shipbreakers in Japan. For many years the Oonah sailed regularly between Melbourne and Burnie (Tasmania).
"Outgoing: the Ooonah for Burnie".... How often the radio spoke; Till the stout little ship and her journey Grew into a mild sort of joke. But no longer her donkeyman grapples His slings by the sweet island shore For a cargo of timber or apples. The Oonah goes sailing no more. No more; save the landfall she's making, The last, on her funeral trip To the land where she goes for her breaking -- Grim graveyard of many a ship. And a few, it may be, will go grieving To know of that busy craft's fate, Who many times hooved with her heaving As Oonah rolled over the strait. There many proud, tall-masted schooners She passed in the night, ships o' sail; While stars winked o'er fond honeymooners Who whispered soft words by her rail. And tourists and grave politicians, Who knew the old Oonah full well, In all sorts of weather conditions, Have had many a story to tell. And many a soul who sailed with her, Since Oonah first breasted the foam, Has taken the long voyage thither, To every man's ultimate home. Who knows now what mystical journey Those sail, to the sounds of high mirth As a ghost-ships heads hull-down for Burnie, With a complement not of the earth.
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2004-07|