Des hangs up hat af­ter 53 years

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - RICHARD KOSER

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.

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