Extract from My Mate and Me - The life and times of John Warby and Family
Meanwhile, Laurie and I were
cleaning out below, when we discovered half a dozen large cartons, stacked away
under the stern counter.
On close inspection, we found that
each sealed carton contained one gross of smaller cartons. Each of these
contained one gross of small envelopes, each containing a condom. Laurie and I looked at each other and burst
Here, were roughly 125,000 condoms,
obviously purchased from the War Disposals sale in New Guinea and left on
board, when the owners had sold the lugger.
To our trusting eyes, they seemed in good order, but neither of us was
authoritative on the subject! Why not
sell them? Or even give them away? We sent a carton per taxi to an Army mate in
Sydney, who was now in business as a chemist, and far more expert on the
subject than ourselves. Would our
windfall turn out to be a goldmine?
LET’S CHUCK 'EM!
But the word was 'no'. Despite appearances, they were too old and
untrustworthy. No doubt, that was why
they had been abandoned. We decided to
dump them that night on the outgoing tide. I still recall what a slow job it
was, hauling up each carton in the dark, opening them and heaving the small
cartons over the side to be dispersed by the tide.
Next morning, the shore was
littered with hundreds of cartons that had been blown ashore by the wind, and
not floated out to sea, as we'd hoped.
But we were glad to see that it was not long before they, too, disappeared. Perhaps the next tide was higher and had
carried them away, we thought.
Eighteen months later we found out
where some, at least, had gone, when we put Panton
up on Hockings Boatslip at T.I., for some underwater attention. An irate shipwright confronted us. Wasn't the Panton in Careening Cove last year? She sure was, we said. Did we own it, then? Rather modestly, we agreed she was ours at
the time. Did we chuck overboard
thousands of French letters then?
Laughingly, we agreed, yes, we had done that.
bastards!” he shouted, revealing
that he and his wife now had a strapping son, resulting from him picking up
He and his mates had collected the lot. I wonder how many other new Australians we
were responsible for! As it is said, “God works in mysterious ways His wonders to
Murphy had nothing to do with it!