The mill’s Mr Fixit bows out

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Shane Ni­chols

THE last thing Marty Har­ris wanted, on re­tir­ing after work­ing 40 years at the Moss­man Su­gar Mill, was any kind of fuss about it.

Even so, a horde of for­mer work­mates turned up at the Ex­change Ho­tel last Fri­day for Marty’s of­fi­cial send-off, a tes- tament to his pop­u­lar­ity and his years of re­li­able ser­vice in the job.

The mill man­age­ment was rep­re­sented too, pay­ing trib­ute to some­one the mill had de­pended on for decades, never more so than when things were in a bit of a pickle.

At a cost of $7000 an hour for be­ing idle, the mill’s down- times need quick fix­ing.

That’s where Marty came in.

As an elec­tri­cian/in­stru­ment maker, Marty and his fam­ily lived on site for decades in one of the mill houses. “It was good for us and good for the mill,” he says.

He was on call more or less con­tin­u­ously and time and again proved his worth in a cri­sis.

“If there was a prob­lem, Marty would come and calmly fix it,” said one of his work­mates, “no matter what pres­sure he was un­der.”

He started out at the mill at about 20, did his time as an ap­pren­tice, got mar­ried and went away to Bris­bane for a few years and re­turned when they had their first child.

Process su­per­vi­sor Lou Sci­acca said Marty was so very loyal to the com­pany. “He was there when we wanted him, we called him out and 2 and 3 in the morn­ing, he did his job and never com­plained, it re­ally helped us out.

“And his wife too – she had to put up a lot with Marty be­ing called out at all hours.

“He de­serves the recog­ni­tion he’s get­ting.”

Marty said he liked the ca­ma­raderie of work­ing at the mill, “just the peo­ple you meet, and the car­ry­ing on”.

It was a very sta­ble work­force in the old days, not like now where peo­ple move around.

Pic­ture: SHANE NI­CHOLS

send off for Moss­man Su­gar Mill's Marty Har­ris (seated cen­tre)

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