Des hangs up hat after 53 years
DES Landy is ready for a game of golf or three after more than half a century of toil at the Mossman Central Mill.
“It’s about time to work on my handicap,” Mr Landy said.
“It’s just about back to where it was when I started playing.”
The engineering manager at the mill, Mr Landy is clocking off for the final time next month after 53 crushing seasons.
It’s not the first time he has retired from the mill, so he doesn’t expect any lavish presents.
“I did retire once before, in December 2001,” he said.
“They gave me a beautiful little lathe to work with.
“I had two-and-a-half years off, then came back to help out with training for a fortnight.
“The manager offered me my old job back, and I did miss some the camaraderie.
“When you’re all pushing hard, everyone comes together.”
Mr Landy said the biggest changes in his time at the mill came in the 1960s and 1970s.
“When I started, it was all cane knives,” he said.
“In the early 1960s, the harvest- ers came in.
“The mill operated a few of its own until the contractors took over.
“Then in the 1970s we got computers. We were the first sugar mill in Australia to install computers.
“There was just one to start, an IBM 1800. It was a pretty big unit, and it sat in its own office.”
Although it is now unusual to spend an entire career at one workplace, Mr Landy said it suited him.
“I enjoy my work, and we’ve got a pretty good crew,” he said.
“My father had 50 years at the mill, and my grandfather did 38.
“Both my sons have served their time here, but they’ve both gone on now.”
Mr Landy said 2010 was one of the worst seasons he could remember.
“We had a bad one in 1973 as well,” he said.
“It rained all year and we didn’t finish the crush until January 5.
“It was like this year, you never knew if you were shutting down or starting up.”
Mr Landy said retiring should be easier the second time around.
“I’ve had a trial run,” he said.