Catch Dutch seaman and collector Herman Willemsen in Gerringong

Kiama's Herman Willemsen.

Kiama's Herman Willemsen.

Dutch Seaman and Collector Herman Willemsen will be giving a wide-ranging talk about his life and interests to the Gerringong and District Historical Society on March 24.

Born in Gouda, Holland, Willemsen will talk about his Dutch background, about cheese, dikes and wooden shoes.

From a young age he always wanted to go to sea, so he will share stories about his time as an apprentice deck officer with Shell tankers, and later as a marine radio operator/electronics officer on Dutch passenger and merchant ships.

After extensive sailing around the world, he settled in Australia, working for OTC at Coast Radio Stations at many places around the country and in PNG.

Willemsen and his wife Kay now live in Kiama. In retirement he has worked as a volunteer Coast Guard radio operator at Port Kembla, taught at TAFE, and acted as a volunteer guide at the National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour.

His great passion is telegraphy, and collecting and restoring Morse Telegraph keys. On first visiting Gerringong Museum he was delighted to find a model of the ABC Telegraph which was used between Gerringong and Kiama, and he will explain a little about that.

The Gerringong RSL Hall is on the corner of Fern and Belinda Streets, directly opposite School Park.

There is a small charge for visitors, who are welcome to stay for afternoon tea. A general meeting of the Historical Society will follow.

Details: Saturday, March 24 at 1pm in the Gerringong RSL Sub-Branch Memorial Hall.