Bill to retire books
PORT Douglas State School’s longest-serving teacher is set to put the books back on the shelf after 23 years of educating around the world.
Today is Bill Ridderhof’s last day of teaching after starting at the school in 1990, where he has taught many students including his three daughters who are now in their 20s.
Proving that it is a small world, Bill received a small blast from the past in the form of little Chloe Bower, his current student and the greatgranddaughter of a man who assisted in saving his life in 1971.
‘‘Before I started teaching I worked with Queensland Fisheries Service as a technician from 1970 to 1986 and was trained up by the Water Police,’’ Mr Ridderhof said.
‘‘The Sergeant of the Water Police in those years was a man named Ivan Adams, and he initiated the diving unit.
‘‘Ivan trained me in diving and took me to the Captain Neilsen dredger wreck in Moreton Bay for my first night dive.
‘‘I remember it being dark and muddy and while I was down there, I was grabbed by a shark on my leg.
‘‘I managed to get away and swam up but I hit the bottom of the barge and couldn’t find the surface.
‘‘Ivan assisted me and guided me to the surface, where my wounds were treated.’’
Mr Ridderhof formerly taught the Year 2-3 classes and had Chloe as a student then, but it wasn’t until he took over the Year 5-6 class, when he was teaching her again, that the pair realised their bizarre association.
In addition to the Port Douglas State School, Mr Ridderhof has also taught in Indonesia, at various Cairns schools and Mabuiag Island in the Torres Strait.
Now that he is retiring, Mr Ridderhof said he is looking forward to having the time to do the things he loves like sailing, bushwalking and keeping fit.
‘‘There are great kids at this school and while I am retiring I will most likely do volunteer work at the school and maybe tutoring,’’ he said.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: Bower
retiring teacher Bill Ridderhof and student Chloe