With the take-over of Bouchers, mum once again went job hunting.
Excerpt from 'THE CLOCK OF TIME' by Gertrude Ruston. (pp 162-164)
I decided not to stay after the take over of Bouchers by Brisbane and Wunderlich, so I once again had to look for a paid position and I decided to visit an employment agent who dealt with top bracket jobs. He sent me along at once to see the Managing Director of a shipping firm, A.P.T. Shipping, who were then in Hay Street, Perth.
My good fairy must have been looking after me as Mr Burnell wanted somebody reliable and mature to do his work and that of the Board. I was then in my sixties and found the shipping jargon a little difficult for a while, so I often stayed back at night to do a little private swatting.
At that time Telex was just becoming known and Mr Burnell brought one into the office as its services were ideal for ETA (expected time of arrival) and ETD (expected time of departure) of ships to and from various ports. The machine is fascinating as while the operator types, perhaps as far away as the other end of the world, the message and answer appears on the Telex screen. It is essential to be accurate because time and words are charged for.
Mr Burnell engaged a woman to be trained at the G.P.O., to operate the machine, but she had only been in the office a few days when she was taken ill and, as head lady, it fell to me to work the Telex without instruction, having only seen the trained operator used it for a very short time. I contacted the G.P.O. and found it was possible to be connected for 15 minutes training time after busy periods in the evening, and they did not charge for this service. In that way I learned how to get in contact with other offices at home and overseas as well as the machine's peculiarities, and was able to carry on until the trained operator returned.
I was with the A.P.T. for about five years and it was an enjoyable period, I was responsible for preparing lunch for Board meetings and found the members extremely pleasant.
Captains of the various ships came into the office and there were times when we were able to go aboard by invitation. It was a Norwegian Line known as "Kunutsen" and the owner himself made an occasional visit. I remember one special occasion when the staff members were invited to a meal on board and we all thoroughly enjoyed the smorgasbord. On one occasion I had to buy a special cage for one of the captains for his canary, so that his pet would be safe in rough weather.
Meantime I carried on as Hon. Secretary of the Council of Social Service and Hon. Secretary/Treasurer of the Swan River Conservation Committee as my voluntary work, enjoying membership of the Soroptimist Club of Perth for recreation.
I had heard a rumour that A.P.T. were about to retire some of their staff at the age of 70 and, although I was assured that this did not apply to me, I realised that my period of employment by a commercial firm might be drawing to a close.
With my knowledge of social welfare I decided to watch for an opening in that field, and when one occurred I tendered my resignation, to Mr Burnell's expressed regret. He gave me a very nice silver Parker pen as a farewell gift." (It was a beautiful fountain pen and I still have it although these days I prefer to use a ballpoint pen. I also have a Parker ballpoint pen that belonged to mum which I still use. It has her name G.W.Ruston engraved on it. I treasure both pens very much. Here is a photo of the two pens I took a couple of minutes ago; you can quite clearly see mum's name engraved on the ballpoint pen. I have had them since 1985).
"The last time I heard from Mr Burnell was when he sent me a letter of congratulations on my being included in the book 'REFLECTIONS' containing profiles of a hundred and fifty women who helped make Western Australian history during its first 150 years. (That book was of course published in 1979).