Bill to re­tire books

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Jessie Tol­son

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.

Pic­ture: JESSIE TOL­SON

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Bower

re­tir­ing teacher Bill Rid­der­hof and stu­dent Chloe

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