Signing off after 45 years on job
THE YEAR 1964: Robert Menzies was Prime Minister of Australia. My Fair Lady was released on film.
And Maryborough’s Dennis Law started work at Walkers Ltd.
His career with the company that was taken over by Downer EDi Rail ends tomorrow after almost 46 years of service.
When Dennis started at Walkers the old stables and hay sheds were still in existence.
He began his career as a 17-year-old and was promoted to leading hand just a week out of his apprenticeship.
“I finished my apprenticeship on July 20, 1969, the day Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. We watched it on the black-and-white TV in the machine shop.
“That week I was offered a job on the marking off table as a leading hand, in control of eight to 10 men at the age of 22 years.”
He worked in various departments, on diesel electric and diesel hydraulic locos.
In 1996 he worked on building the first tilt trains, which, he says, was a career highlight.
“It was a whole new concept and I went on a trip to America and learnt a lot,” he said.
In 1997 Dennis began suffering from angina and had a triple heart bypass in 1998.
When he returned to work in December 1998 he was stationed in the office and quickly learnt to use a computer.
He eventually went back to fitting on the loco production line but his failing health has forced him into retirement.
He’s seen many changes over 45 years but the next one will be one of the hardest to adjust to.
“It’ll feel quite awkward really, not having to get out of bed and go to work,” he said.