Australia · Changes · happiness · nostalgia

Why is a Ship Called “She”?

Many years ago, in fact so many years ago that it now feels like it was a whole lifetime away, a new shopping centre sprang up in the most unlikely of places. For reasons which I have never been aware of, these shops were built right smack bang on the edge of Sydney Harbour.

Who would have thought?

The whole concept was very avante-guard, back in the day, even for Sydney.

Surrounded by a marina, the local rowing club and a beautiful parkland area along the water’s edge, these shops were an absolute delight to visit.

As a newly married couple, my husband and I enjoyed visiting Birkenhead Point every weekend. Our weekly fruit and vegetables were carefully chosen from the huge array of fresh produce on display, after which we would wander along the harbour side, pointing out which boats we liked the most and dreaming of a day when we would own our own.

Just this morning, I dragged out of my linen cupboard an old, faded and fraying tea-towel, a relic of our visits to the place where just the two of us would while away the hours, with not a care in the world.

Those were the days when we truly, although unintentionally, lived the lives of minimalists, without even realising how lucky we were. Where did those days go?

But back to the tea-towel…I remember finding it at one of the nautical shops down near the water side. We loved to admire the shop’s wares, although we had little money to purchase anything.

On the towel is printed a story ~ “Why Is A Ship Called She?” It goes like this ~

“A ship is called a “she” because there is always a great deal of bustle around her; there is usually a gang of men about, she has a waist and stays; it takes a lot of paint to keep her good looking; it is not the initial expense that breaks you, it is the upkeep; she can be all decked out; it takes an experienced man to handle her correctly; and without a man at the helm, she is absolutely uncontrollable. She shows her topsides, hides her bottom and, when coming into port, always heads for the buoys.”

Reading back over it all of these years later, it really is an extremely sexist tea-towel! However I still enjoy the play on words, and I remember why I liked it back then.

After finding the tea-towel, I Googled Birkenhead Point. Yes, the shopping centre is still there, however I do not recall it as ever having been the ritzy edifice it now appears to be!

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3 thoughts on “Why is a Ship Called “She”?

  1. Hi Jo
    It great to look back on old memories, its amazing how the most simple things can recall such fond memories.
    The tea towel is a funny reminder of sexist times gone by. Talk about things like that these days and the feminists would be outraged with such wriiting. My opinion we have gone mad with political correctness.
    I am a bit of a hoarder and hold onto old relics from my mother as it brings back fond memories of her. I looked at your link and Birken head looks pretty ritzy these days. Nice Post.

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  2. This is good to know! Who knew why a ship is called a “she”? This would have been good to know when I wrote my freighter post last week and pondered its sex, lol!

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  3. Hi Stan. That’s what I loved about re-reading this little rhyme, it was soooo politically incorrect! It made me laugh to think how times have changed. Remember the days when a “wolf-whistle” was regarded as a compliment? 🙂

    Kathy, you have to wonder exactly why a ship is called “she”, don’t you? Perhaps because of all of the above…lol. 🙂

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