Tireless worker retires
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