Workers celebrate 40 years on the job with Ballina council
Mark Newsham and Paul Henderson have celebrated 40 years working for Ballina Shire Council.
The pair started working for council on a three-month contract, and they were surprised to hear council wanted them back.
In late 1979, the council’s depot had just moved from its original location ‒ the same spot council’s building is currently at.
Both men started work at the depot near Missingham Bridge, which later moved to its current location near the airport.
They both grew up and have lived in Ballina all their lives.
Mr Henderson worked in surveying for the first 12 years, and he’s now a senior specialist planning operator.
“There were no good jobs back then here, there were no industries, so council was a fantastic opportunity,” he said.
Mr Newsham started as a labourer.
“I started working in stormwater, and from them I became a concreter, and I have laid hundreds of kilometres of kerb and gutter over the years, just about every kerb and gutter currently in Ballina,” he said.
“When the first three months were up I said to the engineer ‘I might as well go, see yas!’ but he said ‘you may as well keep coming’ and I’m still here.”
Both men worked on the Ballina Byron Gateway airport, the establishment of the Southern Cross Industrial Estate, and saw the town change, in part thanks to their work.
Mr Newsham, as a former lifesaver and still an avid fisher, and Mr Henderson also a lover of the surf on their free time, are both quintessential Ballina residents.
The council’s general Manager, Paul Hickey, said the organisation was very happy to celebrate the milestone.
“From our council’s perspective it’s great to have long serving employees, because they do have that local knowledge and these guys that have been here for 30 or more years have seen the shire grow from 20,000 people to about 45,000,” he said.
“Their local knowledge really helps us with projects.”
Other workers that celebrated milestones with council were Anthony Farrugia, for 35 years; David Kelly and Janelle Snellgrove for 30 years; and with 20 years of service were Jason Vidler, Nicholas Wheeler, Sandra Bailey, Malcolm Fox and Peta-Lyn Dalli.