FAREWELL: Swanbank Power Station employees (from left) Peter Cumming, Michael Grice, Peter Kennedy, Wayne Kreis, Dwayne Dowden, Graham Yamaguchi, Darren O’Brien, John Bunt, Gavin Peut.
FAREWELL: Swanbank Power Station employees (from left) Peter Cumming, Michael Grice, Peter Kennedy, Wayne Kreis, Dwayne Dowden, Graham Yamaguchi, Darren O’Brien, John Bunt, Gavin Peut. Contributed

Workers' hard yakka brightened our days

THE recent demolition of a familiar landmark over Swanbank has been followed by the loss of some familiar faces.

Nine staff, who between them boast more than 200 years' service, said their final goodbyes to Swanbank power station last Friday.

It was a bittersweet occasion for the workers, several of whom have toiled at the power station for more than 30 years.

Among those to take redundancies from Stanwell was Wayne Kreis, who has worked at the power station since leaving school aged 15.

"It is a bit sad to go - it's the only place I have ever worked," Mr Kreis said.

After completing his apprenticeship as a fitter and turner aged 19, Mr Kreis went on to work in the machining shop for about a decade, before moving across to the maintence crew and working rotating shifts.

"It could be tough," he said.

"There was heat and noise and coal dust, confined spaces and heights - work wasn't always comfortable."

The camaraderie and variety of personnel at the station during its hey day made it all worthwhile, however.

Most of Mr Kreis' 39 years were shared with other long-termers like Michael Grice, who also enjoyed his last day on the job last Friday after a career spanning 35 years.

Mr Grice's father, son and mother and father-in-law all worked at the power station at different times over the years.

There was also Peter Cumming, who was at Swanbank for 37 years.

Following the demolition of Swanbank B power station, only the recently-built gas turbine station Swanbank E remains, however high gas prices have influenced Stanwell's decision to moth ball the facility.

The company has sold its gas entitlements until the end of June, 2017. A small workforce of 10 will maintain Swanbank E for the time being.