Stack of memories of fun times, hard work

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Hume, Rowan, Kate and Angus Campbell.

By Alisa Cork

The exhaust stack from the Riverside OFL, formerly the Royal Australian Navy vessel OFL 1206, proudly stands watch outside the head office of Riverside Marine on Breakfast Creek Rd Newstead, honouring the vessel’s long service with the company.

Her contribution to the heritage of Riverside Marine pays tribute to the mateship of the fuel barge’s hardworking crews across more than forty years, one of whom is now the company’s CEO.

Riverside Marine Chief Executive Officer Hume K. Campbell, and former crew member of Riverside OFL, remembers fondly the good times at sea on board the cruise ship.

“The proud crew wore pristine white overalls and immaculate shoes which was a requirement when boarding a cruise ship,” Hume said. “I remember one evening, the ‘cheeky’ OFL crew decided to have a joke with a friendly cruise ship crew, so they boarded wearing women’s slips from the rag bag.”

In June 1964, The Riverside Coal Transport Company Pty Ltd purchased the Royal Australian Navy vessel OFL 1206 for £6,551. Renamed the Riverside OFL shortly after, she was towed from Darwin to Brisbane in what was then, the longest ocean tow in Australian maritime history.

Built in 1945, the riveted steel barge was fitted with a fixed Kort rudder carrying up to 1450 tonnes of fuel oil, which could be discharged at up to 450 tonnes per hour.

Riverside OFL spent her working life transferring residual black fuel oil from the Ampol and Amoco refineries (now BP) to the oil depots for distribution. Hume said these fuel oil contracts played an important role in shaping the future of the company. 

Hume recollects waiting a long time before he was asked to do a shift on the OFL. 

“On board were a close-knit crew who knew her intimately,” Hume said. “They took great pride in maintaining not only the vessel but the safest record for spillage inside Australian waters.”

“You had to be one of the old Riverside boys to go on the barge,” he said. “Friday night was loading for the Saturday morning cruise ship bunkering. Around midnight as the cruise ship came past heading towards the terminal at Hamilton, we would pull alongside and secure the OFL.”

After more than forty years’ service, the OFL was sold in 2009. She was decommissioned and later broken up at Brisbane Marine Industry Park (BMIP) in Hemmant.  The exhaust stack was salvaged by Hume for sentimental reasons and installed outside Campbell House, where its horn can be heard daily at noon.

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