Kak Krushka’s crayfishing days
By Daisy Baker
July 03, 2019
Keith Krushka has lived in Bridport for nearly 80 years and has seen it evolve from a town with one sealed road, several shops and no electricity into the popular tourism destination it is known for today.
Many people know Mr Krushka as ‘Kak’ – a nickname that started when he was just five years old, on his first day of school.
“For some reason I told them my middle name was Alan so one of my mates called me ‘Kak’ from my initials K-A-K,” he says laughing.
“I found out later though that my second name was actually Robert but the nickname stuck.”
He says in the years he studied at Bridport Primary School, it was just two little rooms.
“There were only a few shops in the main street, there was the newsagent and the old hall used to be across from the hotel,” he remembers.
“All the people used to come to Bridport of a Christmas time of course and they had tents right up to the tennis court at one stage.
“I remember when the factory was built, the bridges, wharf and the football ground. The way Bridport has changed in all these years is unreal.”
Mr Krushka says his passion for fishing started early, getting his first boat when he was just eight.
“My dad had a little fishing boat and I guess that’s all I knew. He bought me a boat and I used to go out by myself,” he says, gesturing out the window to the bay.
“We moved out Barnbougle Road there and if the tide was right, I’d row my boat to where the club house is now, tie it up and go to school and row it home after school again.
“If it was nice and calm I’d go out, just past the rocks and catch some flathead.”
He left school at 14, several months after writing a letter to the Department of Education outlining that he wanted to go fishing full time, which was complete with a forged signature from his dad.
The headmaster at the time cottoned on and convinced him to stay a few more months until he was 14.
Mr Krushka started fishing with Peter Rockliff of Petuna after leaving school and worked with him for six years.
“He taught me a lot and I am still great friends with him and his wife Una today,” he says fondly.
“A few years after I married Yvonne, I bought my own boat and went out with another bloke for about 20 years.
“We were fishing for crayfish and all sorts of fish really.”
They were typically gone for about 10 days at a time, always returning home to Yvonne and their two children for a few days in between.
“Sixty odd years ago when I was coming into the bay from fishing, I’d look at Bridport of a night time and there’d be just a few lights around here,” he says.
“Now you go out and there’s lights right from Granite Point half way to Scottsdale!”
Mr Krushka said his work wasn’t just going out and throwing a line over the side.
“You’ve got to know a bit about where to go, the weather and all sorts of things.
“There were no regulations or quotas in those times – you’d go out and catch what you wanted virtually.”
Mr Krushka says he has fond memories of the years gone by.
“It was a good life fishing and I was lucky to have someone good to work with and the wife I had.”