Memories from Hedley Ihle

I started work at Jimna at the end of 1963 for Hancock and Gore. I went from there to Bellthorpe working for Brandons. Then back to Jimna for Hancock and Gore.Back to Bellthorpe to Brandons once more and in August 1967 I went to Wuruma Dam construction, then back to Caboolture for Ken Duncombe’s sawmill. In 1969 my wife Carol and I went to King Island (Bass Straight) and I worked in the Butter Factory. We moved back to Brisbane in 1970 and I worked for GMH at Acacia Ridge. In 1971 we moved to Auckland NZ and I started working in a car manufacturing plant. Shifting to Tokoroa in 1973 I worked at Kinleith Paper mills in loadout until I retired 40 years later in 2013.

I left school in 1963 and started work at Jimna saw mill.While I was working there with Micky Duggan, the mill started laying off staff and Micky was one of them. I took him to Bellthorpe one night and he got a job. Fred Myers, the mill manager,  wanted me to go there as well, but I stayed at Jimna. Later I went to Bellthorpe and Mick and I lived in the barracks. We shared cooking and had some comical times. One night I finished cooking tea and poured the hot fat into a glass jar as I always did. I heard a crack but couldn’t see anything wrong so didn’t worry about it. While doing the dishes  I picked up the jar and it fell to pieces.  The hot fat ran all over the old wooden table and the floor. We cleaned up and didn’t worry about it. Went to go to town on Friday night. The car, my Pride and Joy , was parked under the barracks and looked like it was covered in candle wax!! all over the roof and windscreen. The fat from the jar had run through the floor boards as there was no lino  on the floor. Batching with Mick had it’s moments too. He had a habit of sleep walking and taking  my blankets and putting them on his bed all while sound asleep. A bit cool in winter. I went back to Jimna for a while and Mick stayed at Bellthorpe living in a mill house. I went back to Bellthorpe and moved  into a mill house with Reuben Mollenhagen. Management shifted us into another house after a few weeks so a married couple could have it. Graeme and Gail Ihle lived next door to this house. Gail decided the stove in the second house was better than  the 1st house so they swapped stoves and we had a worn out stove. The 2nd house was full of fleas and the only way to get away from them was to keep your feet off the floor. The 1st night in this house we turned the taps on and no water !! The mill tanks were dry. Went to work next morning and  came home for lunch to find the whole house awash with water!!  Reuben had forgotten to turn the taps off the night before!! The good result was all fleas were drowned. Going to town  one Wednesday night, we got behind a logging truck at the top of the range. Decided to overtake him but ran out of road, went over the side and into a tree. We walked back to Bellthorpe, got the crane from the mill and pulled the car back onto the road. Used the winch on the crane to pull the radiator back off the fan. Hopped into the car and went on to town. Graeme Ihle  took the crane back to the mill for us. Fun and games for all.

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Hedley Ihle at work before retirement