An offer of a six-week stint stone pitching at Jondaryan turned into a 40-year working career for Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) plant operator Trevor Woodcock .
Mr Woodcock and colleagues celebrated that career this week when he turned up for his final official duty – a well-earned retirement function at TRC’s Oakey works depot.
Work colleagues were joined by TRC Deputy Mayor and Infrastructure Services Committee chair Cr Carol Taylor and Infrastructure Services general manager Mike Brady to wish Mr Woodcock and his wife, Rosy, a long and happy retirement.
Born and bred in Toowoomba, Mr Woodcock’s earlier working life took him to Darwin with Barclays to help a cousin working on the reconstruction of Darwin after Cyclone Tracy.
“The place was still pretty wiped out even 12 months after the event,” Mr Woodcock said.
“I then returned to Toowoomba in 1976 and visited the old Commonwealth job office that was near City Hall.
“A six-week job was on offer for stone pitching at Jondaryan. I said, ‘what is stone pitching? and where is Jondaryan?’.
“I fronted up and now wonder where the time went.”
Mr Woodcock spent most of his time driving truck and dogs or prime movers with a tipper, firstly for Jondaryan Shire and more recently TRC.
“Looking back, I think there are more opportunities available for staff now,” he said.
“In those days you virtually had to wait for someone to die before stepping up a position and there is more training offered these days.
“I’ve worked on gravel re-sheeting and road construction jobs all across the Jondaryan Shire area and parts around Toowoomba. There aren’t many back roads I don’t know.
“The older blokes often remind the younger ones that we didn’t have air conditioning in the good old days.
“I recently had the chance to drive a new Western Star, but I’m happy to hand over to the younger blokes. I’m proud of my clean driving record and the 20 or so years we lived in Oakey. “
Cr Taylor thanked Mr Woodcock for his lengthy and dedicated service.
“Council is proud of the hard work that our Construction and Maintenance teams perform every day. Keeping a large road network operating is a constant job that often sees the teams out and about at all hours and in all conditions,” Cr Taylor said.
“The highest praise is the tributes that come from fellow work mates. I know they admire Trevor for his dependability and his vast experience across many different vehicles.
“He has built up a vast store of knowledge, such as where all our gravel pits are and where all the back roads lead. This is a valuable bank of local knowledge that will be sorely missed.
“Above all, we wish Trevor and his family our best wishes for a happy retirement.”
Not one for being idle, Mr Woodcock plans to keep up his volunteer work with St Vincent de Paul.
“I can lend a hand driving a truck and wherever I’m needed. There’s always work for volunteers,” he said.
“I’m sure I’ll find plenty to do helping our two daughters and seven grandchildren.”
Then there is the lure of the open road.
“We’ll hook the van up more often and I’m keen to get out and about on my motorbike,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to heading back to Bathurst and Mt Panorama this year. It’s the last hurrah for the big bangers.”