Cabers to Australia

Post date: Nov 15, 2014 10:32:45 PM

James had been hoping to secure a copy of an article covering the shipment that appeared in the OCL in-house magazine. After SCARA kindly circulated the request for information to its members former General Manager of Group Commercial Division Dennis Greenland stepped forward and sent a scanned copy down to James (to access a legible version of the image, please click on the picture below).

Three weeks ago we put out a plea for information on behalf of an Australian Scottish Highland Games enthusiast (see Were you working for OCL in the early 1970s?). James Grahame is in the process of completing a book on his sport and was looking for information on the shipment of some cabers from the UK to Melbourne by Overseas Containers Limited (OCL) in the early 1970s.

Being honest, expectations weren't high on this but we had underestimated how effective a network of ex-colleagues could be!

"The fact that these cabers had been used at such a renowned Games at Braemar brought a lot of good publicity, and I have a feeling the TV channels were alerted in that area around Bendigo.

"I arranged with the late Eric Watson, the marketing manager in Scotland, for OCL, to provide a forty foot container to be used as FCL, and he had dealings with some of the Braemar people. As a result, the container was delivered as an FCL from Melbourne to Maryborough, and Billy arranged the unloading, amid the politicians and photo opportunists!

"We carried these cabers for several years, and I recall Billy telling me that most of the cabers “failed” to be thrown properly at Breamar, and at Maryborough !

"As I recall Billy, he was a fearsome looking big man with red hair and red beard, but the nature of a thorough gentleman. I think he had a home in Benambra, in the hills north east of Melbourne.

"Hope this recollection helps. Cheers

"Barry McDonald"

In his response to Barry, James confirmed that Billy Binks is still with us and continues to referee/run the heavy events at Maryborough, Geelong and Beechworth every year. He has several of the cabers under his house which he selects from for the games.

We've also had a note from James in which he says::

"I just wanted to thank the PONLHeritage website for helping me in my research.

"My quest for a copy of a 43 year old article from an OCL internal magazine was always going to be tough. I had already researched the various Highland Games book which referred to it and failed to find a copy of it anywhere online.

"I could not have anticipated the friendly and prompt assistance I received from PONLHeritage. This resulted in contact from one of the original men involved in the shipping of the Cabers. I also received a copy of the article from a couple who had (amazingly!) kept every copy of the OCL magazine in their loft.

Thank you all for taking the time to help.

"All the best


The next breakthrough came from Australia and again showed how useful email can be! Via Paul Windfield, Geoff Bolton, Charles Burne, and Don Bienvenu contact was made with Barry McDonald who provided James with the following account:

"Billy Binks approached me all those years ago to see if we could arrange the delivery of the cabers used at the Braemar Games, as they wished to use them at the Highland Games at Maryborough, Victoria, held every year on New Years Day. These games still exist, but I don’t know where their cabers come from now.

"Yes, I remember these cabers well. I was with OCAL at the time, being involved with the European trade in both directions.