Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

NICE WORK, BOB; and Thanks for the Memories

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

NICE WORK, BOB; and Thanks for the Memories

Article excerpt

Byline: Adam Wratten adam.wratten@capnews.com.au

TODAY, 50 years and two weeks after starting on the job as a 15-year-old, The Morning Bulletin's longest-serving staff member, Bob Shaw, retires.

As Bob looks forward to putting his feet up and spending more time with family, he leaves a newspaper and city far different from those he entered more than half a century ago.

Yesterday The Bully's ad services production manager reflected on his time in the job and the big stories and characters that have shaped Rockhampton and Central Queensland in recent decades.

He said the key to his longevity was "job satisfaction" and working with good colleagues.

"There have been a lot of characters in the building over the years," said Bob, a trained photoengraver whose career spanned that of 10 editors at the paper.

"I can still remember coming in for my first day.

"I got to meet everyone in the building, including the editor, Mr George Westacott.

"It was a day spent cleaning up and fetching and carrying things; that's what apprentices did in those days."

He said over the years his job at the paper changed considerably as he developed and technological advancements occurred, such as the introduction of colour to the print and later on computers.

There have been many changes; not all good.

"Technology has made it a lot quicker and easier," Bob said.

"It used to take us an hour and a half to do one photo; now it takes 30 seconds.

"It's a lot cleaner, too - no more lead poisoning.

"We also used to have about 50 people in the composing room when I first started. Now I'm leaving that's down to four and they're still doing the same amount of work."

He said The Bully's newsroom was different, too.

In the old days the paper wasn't printed until about 1am.

Reporters would jump on their pushbikes late at night and cycle round to the police, ambulance and fire stations to see if there had been any late-breaking news.

Some of the most memorable stories and characters Bob, an avid newspaper reader, recalled from his 50 years include:

* The Midlander train smash at Bogantungan in which seven died after a bridge was swept away in floods in the 1960s;

* The ANA aircraft8 crash at Winton in 1966 when 24 people died, including the wife of prominent businessman Sir Hudson Fysh;

* The Rockhampton floods in 1991 when the Fitzroy River reached 9. …

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