LETTERS 8.7.17

Hail the wharfie
HARK, the old chestnut, demonising wharfies rolled out last week in a letter by Dr Pauline Farley (“Wharfies Sanitised”, Herald, July 1, 2017) is ignorant and insulting.
I worked on the wharves at N2 Ports 1970-1978 and can tell you that the work is dirty, dangerous and can even be fatal.
In the pre-container stevedoring era, working conditions on the wharves were appalling.
One afternoon I was working in a gang of six men in the hold of an old rusty ship, unloading large boxes of equipment, when the steel cable attached to the hook (crane) snapped under pressure and sliced through the hold.
Luckily that afternoon we all managed to dive out of the way.
Working on the wharves can shorten your life!
Camaraderie, loyalty and care for the welfare of fellow workers is what sets the wharfies apart.
Union delegates constantly monitor health and safety and pay rates.
We liked them.
The delegates were looking after us, and they had nicknames of affection:
The Mirror— He was going to “look into it”
Vomit—He was going to bring it up the next meeting
Hurricane lamp—None too bright.
Fremantle wharves have other historical milestones, Dr Farley—Tom Edwards who was bashed to death by police on the wharf on May 4, 1919, Paddy Troy the champion local leader who initiated significant improvements in working conditions and job security.
For the first time anywhere in Australia, Paddy insured that Aboriginal labourers on the wharf received equal pay rates—in 1956!
Let’s forever remember those wharfies who were killed or seriously injured in the course of this noble profession.
Talepapa Moses
Fifth Avenue, Beaconsfiled

Herald is skin-deep
SHAME, Fremantle Herald!
Explaining to my daughters the importance of a new cervical screening program being launched by the state government and the groundbreaking non invasive treatments for cervical cancer, Pap Smear Rethink (Health Adviser feature, Herald, July 1, 2017) was a valuable opportunity to talk about sexual health.
However this soon turned into a discussion on perceived abnormalities of their bodies, when the informative and interesting article segues into a half page advertisement for a gynaecologist and his services for gynaecological ailments and cosmetic surgery.
But the true horror lay on Page 20 within the Health Advisor section where a perceived ideal genitalia can be purchased through cosmetic surgery detailing what can be cut, sliced, injected, reduced, removed or tightened for the pleasure of women and their partners.
Congratulations, for contributing to a culture of gendered inadequacy in the pursuit of a commodified ideal body.
Carol Huish
Hope Street,
White Gum Valley

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