The Apollo Ferry [1954] – John Bradley

kickers trawled for prawns on the river
white Bay cruises seemed laced along the edges
their idle wealth appropriately facing the tidal flow
cargo ships waited out the transfer of goods
at some predetermined point two ferries crossed
their wash almost kissed on passing
they nodded to each other on the swell
like lovers from a past relationship
ours swung towards us in stately grace
which belied her position in the scheme of things
bikes were slung off by dock workers
their Jackie Howes heavy with sweat
we stood as children do, rigid with anticipation
whooped! then scrambled over the gunwales
like a boarding party from a man-o’-war


Author’s note: The Apollo Ferry was one of the small river ferries that criss-crossed the Brisbane River. It plied between Brett’s Wharf and Apollo Rd. They sputtered and smelt of diesel. You could always spunge a free ride off the skipper. It had a Herculean feel to it as a child. A great sea voyage to my Aunt’s place in Bulimba. These ferries cut down travelling time to the southern suburbs and linked in with the trams on the other side of the river. They’ve now been replaced almost enitrely by the “River Cats”.