Tire­less worker re­tires

The Tatura Guardian - - News - By Tara Whitsed

The halls of Tatura Milk In­dus­tries may never feel the same since long-term em­ployee Ray Col­liver re­tired af­ter spend­ing 40 years with the com­pany.

Mr Col­liver, who suf­fers from a hear­ing im­pair­ment, spent most of his ca­reer with Tatura Milk as a pow­der-packer op­er­a­tor af­ter start­ing with the com­pany in 1977.

‘‘He loved work­ing there,’’ Mr Col­liver’s sis­ter Chris­tine Holm said.

Mr Col­liver worked tire­lessly at his job — some­thing that de­vel­oped him into a con­fi­dent mem­ber of the com­mu­nity.

‘‘He used to be quite shy, but work­ing has re­ally helped him,’’ Mrs Holm said.

‘‘Thanks to Tatura Milk for tak­ing a chance on him.

‘‘They’ve re­ally done more of a ser­vice than what they think.’’

Tatura Milk man­u­fac­tur­ing man­ager Ge­orge Te­pus said Mr Col­liver would be missed by all at the com­pany.

‘‘I used to su­per­vise Ray and he was al­ways very thor­ough and or­gan­ised,’’ Mr Te­pus said.

‘‘I knew that he would do his checks and the milk pow­der would leave the site well pack­aged and coded.’’

Mrs Holm ex­plained that with his poor hear­ing, and also trou­bles with his vi­sion, Tatura Milk came up with an in­no­va­tive way for Mr Col­liver to tell the bags were al­most full.

‘‘They put in a strobe light so he knew if the light was go­ing off then the bag was get­ting full,’’ she said.

‘‘Most peo­ple would see or hear the valves, but he couldn’t.’’

When asked what he would be do­ing with his re­tire­ment, Mr Col­liver pointed to a fish­ing sign hang­ing in his lounge room.

‘‘He loves his fish­ing,’’ Mrs Holm ex­plained and said he of­ten trav­elled quite some dis­tance to get his line wet.

‘‘He helps a lot of peo­ple, too, with things like handy work.

‘‘If any of the blokes at work wanted a help­ing hand he’d be there.’’

Mrs Holm said Mr Col­liver would of­ten re­ceive a friendly tap on the shoul­der from work­mates while he was down the street and vice versa.

‘‘Ray also man­aged to train quite a few op­er­a­tors over his long ca­reer, which is an ad­mirable achieve­ment,’’ Mr Te­pus said.

‘‘(He) had ev­ery­thing you would want to see in a pro­duc­tion worker.

‘‘He was hard­work­ing, reliable, or­gan­ised, had an eye for de­tail and last, but not least, a good sense of hu­mour.’’

And it wasn’t just his co­work­ers who learned a thing or two from Mr Col­liver.

‘‘I went to school to be­come a (AUSLAN) in­ter­preter,’’ Mrs Holm said.

‘‘He teaches me quite reg­u­larly.’’

Mrs Holm said she also wanted to get a sense of what it was like to be in Mr Col­liver’s shoes.

‘‘We just take our hear­ing for granted,’’ she said.

‘‘I re­alised how hard it was when I put earplugs in for a week.

‘‘Then I had more of an un­der­stand­ing of what he is liv­ing with.’’

Mrs Holm said Mr Col­liver was pleased to now be re­tired af­ter his hear­ing had de­te­ri­o­rated in his older years.

Farewell: Tatura’s Ray Col­liver (left and above) will be missed at Tatura Milk, fin­ish­ing up his role with the com­pany af­ter 40 years. Mr Col­liver is pic­tured above with Bega chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul van Heer­waar­den. Pic­tures: Tara Whitsed

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