Half century for Rocky

06 November 2019

It’s not often a business can claim 50 years of continued operation, but this year our team are celebrating that half century at our Port Curtis facility.

What is even more amazing, is that 4 of the Port Curtis team, have chalked up over 40 years with the company.

While Joe Matstroieni holds the record with 43 years, Brad Haynes is hot on his heels with 42, followed by Peter Larose and Darryl Crowley with 40 years each – even Central Queensland area manager Peter Martin has chalked up 37.

“I started as an apprentice diesel fitter at the Port Curtis facility nearly 37 years ago,” Mr Martin said. “I returned nearly 12 months ago to manage the area and while it always amazes me to see the growth and expansion, it is knowing how many people we have as long serving employees that really leaves me feeling extremely proud."

Hastings Deering continues to be a key employer and service provider to the Central Queensland coal industry. As the industry expands and strengthens, we will continue to deliver on our services with our eye firmly on another 50 years in the region.” 

From Biloela to Bowen, and Mackay and back to Rocky, Joe Matstroieni has covered some ground with Hastings Deering after starting in the Mackay branch in 1976.

“Repairing some of the equipment was pretty challenging back in 70s, that to repair them we often had to pull parts off one machine and swap them onto another machine overnight so they would be ready for work in the morning,” Mr Matstroieni said. “There have been so many changes from everything to size of the machines themselves to the incredible technology that comes standard in many of them nowadays. I don’t think anyone would have imagined how technology would evolve and impact on machinery. I always made a point of keeping up otherwise you wouldn’t go anywhere."

over 40 years with Hastings deering

“In the early days I was doing more for farmers than for some mines. Some months I would do 6,000kms. There was a lot of driving and there were always long days in the field, from sunup to sundown. There were days I’d swear I’d quit, but I still came back, day after day, month after month, year after year and I am still here.”

Brad Haynes was only 16 when he started at Hastings Deering in 1977, riding his push bike to work.

“I was so excited and eager to start I got there an hour earlier than I had to,” Mr Haynes said. “When staff started to arrive, I knew from their welcome that it was going to be a great place to work. I worked in a local sawmill before starting at Hastings where safety was not strong, you could wear anything to work.   From day one at Hastings, there was a focus on safety and now I had to wear overalls, steel cap boots safety glasses and hearing protection."

“I guess what continues to astound me most is how Hastings Deering continues to adapt to the ever changing and diverse environment it operates in. When I first started our entire parts inventory was manually controlled.  You had to hand write a parts’ requisition and all orders and communication to suppliers were made via a Telex machine. Today you can search hundreds of thousands of part numbers within the Hastings Deering network by the app on your phone."

“Machines have become much larger over the years but what impresses me the most is how the productivity of machines has improved. Through technology and technique, you can move more dirt today with a smaller machine."

“While the facility itself and equipment we service has changed a lot over the years, it’s the people I’ve met, along the way, either employees, suppliers or customers, who have created my best memories.  So many different characters from many different walks of life: some have become lifelong friends, others were more challenging, but they all, in one way or another, contributed to the lifetime of memories and experiences.”

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