CAPT Alan Pearson MBE MM 1921-2011

CAPT Alan Pearson July 13, 1921 - August 4, 2011 Published in NATIONAL - September 15, 2011 by David Sexton
ormer federal secretary and federal master of the Company of Master Mariners Australia, Alan Pearson. Friend and former colleague David Wharington delivered the eulogy as he had got to know Alan Pearson after joining the Federal Department of Transport in the early 1970s where Mr Pearson was a nautical adviser.
He recounted how Alan Pearson joined the then Department of Shipping and Transport in Sydney in 1952 as a nautical and ship surveyor.
"Within a few years he was promoted to deputy director of navigation for the department in Tasmania.
"One duty that he enjoyed in Tasmania and later in New South Wales was making periodical visits to lighthouses for inspections.
In 1958 he returned to Sydney as senior nautical and ship surveyor, before moving into the department's central office in Melbourne as principal marine surveyor in 1961. Then he was appointed nautical advisor in 1964.
"This also involved a very wide range of responsibilities such as shipwrecks, both historical and modern, measures to prevent oil pollution, ship casualty investigation and attendance at courts of marine inquiry, such as the Lake Illawarra probe, as a party in the public interest," Mr Wharington said.
"In 1972 he led the Australian delegation at the convention on the International Rules for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
"He chaired numerous statutory committees including the Marine Council and committees to determine the safe manning of individual ships.
"Chairing manning committees was not easy as the other two committee members were the ship owner and the sometimes militant maritime union official. These two generally had very different agendas.
"Alan had very good people skills. In looking through his papers I saw one letter from the deputy public service arbitrator thanking Alan resolving a dispute at Garden Island between tug masters and the dockyard management and commenting on the clarity and conciseness of his report."
In 1979, Alan Pearson was made an MBE for services to shipping before retiring from the public service in 1982.
Alain joined the Company of Master Mariners of Australia in 1965, later becoming master of the Melbourne, Sydney and later federal branches.
He continued to be active in the company until shortly before he moved into a nursing home. Alan Pearson enjoyed study and research, writing articles for nautical publications under the nom-de-plume of Stargazer and obtaining a graduate diploma in shipping from the. Australian Maritime College.
Mr Wharington said in the final stage of his life, Alan Pearson wanted to get back home to resume making two working model ships for his grandchildren.
"Alan played a leading part in the establishment of the Australian National Merchant Navy War Memorial in Canberra," he said.
"His British seaman discharge book records that in 1982 at age 61 and after retiring from the public service, he sailed in the square rigged ship Eye of the Wind from O'Pua to Sydney, signed on as "trainee galley boy".
"I imagine that discharge certificate would have made him just as proud as his earlier service as master," Mr Wharington said.
"Alan was a very good friend and like all of you, I will miss him greatly."

Immediate Past President John Wilkins OAM RFD* comments that the members of the Executive Committee Victoria Division Navy League of Australia, on which Alan served for several years with distinction, recalled his kind, helpful, active participation which was greatly appreciated as he represented the much needed merchant service point of view, it was an honour to serve alongside him.




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