Ron had written to ‘The Big Australian’ when he was looking at buying the home at Abermain, but when that deal fell through he had put things on hold for awhile.
So now Ron contacted the BHP once again and although there were no vacancies to speak of at that time, they recalled his prior contact and gave him a start in any case.
First day on the job: ‘Ron can you go to the equipment shed at the end of this building and fetch a wheelbarrow’, was the leading hands instruction. Ron immediately set out for the shed that had been pointed out to him, in doing so, he took the shortest route he could navigate. He collected the barrow and returned to the ‘gang’ as quickly as he could. ‘Wrong’, was the ‘reprimand’ given to Ron at this point, not because he had actually done the incorrect thing, but rather because: ‘You are too fast, walk slowly and take the longest route in future’ was the correction he was offered. This amused Ron greatly, he was used to getting a job done to the best of his ability and as efficiently as possible and this included being as quick as the task at hand allowed. But Ron was now employed for eight hours a day and those hours needed to be paced so there was something left to do tomorrow.
Ron made friends very quickly, as he had done throughout his entire life and some of his first mates at the BHP were Arthur and Ted Barnes, two brothers who lived together at Mayfield and worked side by side during the day.
Later mates he would ‘play’ with during work hours were Barry Hudson, Peter Manshual, Wade Rose and the last Fitter that he was ‘mate’ to was John Marshall. Being a fitter’s mate, to Ron meant more than just a work position; he was a genuine friend to them even out of work hours.
During his working life at the BHP, Ron kept up his history of practical jokes. At any given time when the rest of the ‘boys’ heard the sounds of “The Road Runner” broadcast clearly over the intercom system in the Rod Mill, they all knew just who was responsible for making their shift just that little bit more bearable in such a light- hearted manner.
Ron also took great pride in the knowledge that he was the person who actually turned the first sod in the construction of The BHP Recreation Club at Mayfield, as a part of his work duties in the late 1960’s early 1970’s.
Although, he endured the inconveniences of shift work, Ron was happy to be employed and it seemed enjoyed his work until his dying day.
Newcastle Industrial Heritage Association