We recruited safe houses by just asking people at meetings. We knew that they would likely say yes as they were party members or supporters. There were no dramas, no problems, people that were asked to provide a safe house knew what it entailed and what was expected of them. My job was to drive the Draft Resisters to the safe houses and in April 1972 the Police did catch me with Bob Scates on board.
I was living in Prahran upstairs from a shop called the DMZ -Demilitarised Zone- run by Michael Hamel Greens and Fran Newells mothers. The shop raised money by selling flower power items, jewellery and other small items. There were often four of us living there, three paid Board and on any night others stayed there. Bob Scates was there for some time, he was at that time a Draft Resister but not yet underground.
The Police did raid the shop, and Bob Scates was in residence, but he jumped out of the room and hung by his fingertips from the balcony until they left.
We recruited safe houses by just asking people at meetings. We knew that they would likely say yes as they were party members or supporters. There were no dramas, no problems, people that were asked to provide a safe house knew what it entailed and what was expected of them
There was family who lived at Highett and they had said that Draft Resisters could stay there, I think that Bob Bisset and his partner Julie and Bob Scates stayed there. When the owners went away they told the neighbours that I was staying there with student friends.
I looked after two Bobs-Scates and Bisset. Scates had no fear of or any idea of how to go about security. The night that he was arrested I had him in the car and said to him lie down on the back seat but he didn’t and the Commonwealth Police came up beside us. That was April 1972. I was driving a volkswagon which didn’t go very fast, it wouldn’t go beyond 40 miles an hour, but I took off with the Police in chase. I was driving in and around the verandahs on Bridport St and came to a dead end, Bob Scates was arrested.
I had been at the races that day and was told that there was a meeting in South Melbourne and that all of the Draft Resisters were going to be there. I picked up Scates at Anne and Giovanni Sgros house where he was staying at the time and then Bisset who was with the Beaumonts in St Kilda.
We were conscious of security although I am not sure how serious the police were about catching them. Bob Bissett was very anxious and would only last a few days in a safe house and would then say that he was being watched, so we had to move him often. Whereas Bob Scates was not so anxious, he was staying somewhere in Fitzroy and went for a walk in the Edinburgh gardens and was seen. He thought that if he wore a cap no-one would recognise him
I was the one who spirited Barry Johnson away, when he was the federal candidate, got him out of ALP State Conference at Trades Hall after he had addressed the delegates. Again it was the VW that took him down Victoria St and then into someone elses car.