The mill’s Mr Fixit bows out
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.
send off for Mossman Sugar Mill's Marty Harris (seated centre)