The phone call came from the Australian Embassy, “Are you available to teach in Australia? We would like you to teach modern shipbuilding methods to the Royal Australian Navy’s technical staff and to the two consortia that are competing for the multi-billion dollar ANZAC Frigate Program.”
Thus in the spring of 1988 I took Rhoda to Australia and New Zealand.
What was a two-week engagement was extended to six weeks. I lectured in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, Auckland, and Wellington. Rhoda and I were in some of those cities more than once and also managed weekends in Coffs Harbor and Cairns. Many days were memorable, but one of the best was when John Lord, with his wife Clare and their baby Hannah, drove us from Canberra for a tour of the countryside. We went to Tidbinbilla, a huge enclosed region where many of Australia’s unique animals can be seen in their natural habitat.
We saw barely visible, barely moving koalas high up in eucalyptus trees. We petted a wombat and got close to an emu. As we were leaving and feeling a bit disappointed because we did not spot any kangaroos, four of them came from over a hill and approached the wire fence. They stood there on the outside while looking into the enclosed area at the two strange-sounding creatures from Brooklyn.
Copyright © 2006 (text only) by Louis D. Chirillo