The Border Watch : October 25th 2013
8 OPINION EDITORIAL IT WOULD be a stupid government indeed to come to Coonawarra and not acknowledge the importance of our wine industry, which is an economic driver for the state. But Agriculture Minister Gail Gago’s statements recognising the value of the sector and claims it will be taken into account during considerations regarding regulation of activities to capitalise on gas resources in the region are hollow unless they are matched with action. There may be ways to tightly monitor and control gas exploration and development in the region to deliver the economic and resource benefi ts available without hurting the aquifer and our “clean and green” reputation for high-quality food. But this requires far more than some goodwill comments from the minister of the day. She was not in Coonawarra to comment on the gas industry, but her statements are welcome on the topic. However, the government leaders must ensure their commitment is not limited to talking about protecting the wine sector and natural resources underpinning all agriculture in our prolifi c region. There may come a time when governments at all levels will need to carefully consider our priorities and how far we need to continue to dig into our fragile earth for resources that may continue to throw out the balance of the planet as they are used, rather than addressing consumption and protecting our existing industries and assets. While government and economic leaders may see short-term dollar incentives, the impact has the potential to last for generations if the process is not managed properly with rigorous monitoring. Capitalising on resources buried deep underground involves great risk as new techniques are used that have prompted controversy interstate and overseas. Ms Gago claims we have learnt from mistakes elsewhere and must not rule out the potential that the education we have benefi ted from could lead to some forms of mining activity being ruled out in our backyard. VISIT US ONLINE borderwatch.com.au COMMENT The presses will roll on but Max will never be forgotten FROM THE FRONT PORCH F GGR G FR GR GREENWOOD GRAHAM SHIRLEY Earl was an important, much-loved member of “The Border Watch family” from 1957 until 2005. SCOTT GROUP OF COMPANIES 538600 8 - The Border Watch, Friday, October 25, 2013 HAYLEY HOLDER Mount Gambier I am looking forward to meeting up with friends. ASHLEY COPPING Melbourne I am helping to run the beef cattle section. LEVI THIELE Millicent I want to go on the ferris wheel. She worked in the distribution section of the newspaper, wrapping papers for paper boys to deliver and also subscriber papers which went out by rail and post. This meant wrapping 2500 papers on each publication day. In those days the wrapping bench was located alongside the Cossar press, a large machine which printed the newspaper. Much later, when The Border Watch was relocated to its present site, a separate and much larger distribution area was required, along with a much larger press. By the late 1990s, paper boys had long gone, but Shirley continued to wrap the subscriber papers. From 1968 until 2005, when Shirley retired, she worked alongside production manager Max Alexander. Max died suddenly two weeks ago and earlier this week I received a telephone call from Shirley seeking a lift to take her to Max’s funeral. I had done the same for her following the deaths of The Border Watch owner Allan Scott AO in 2008 and former editor Hedley Hancock in 2007. Shirley was a loyal and hard-working employee, dedicated to the newspaper, and STREET SWEEPER What are you looking forward to at the Mount Gambier Spring Show? was keen to say goodbye to her long-time work colleague and boss Max Alexander. She would have done anything for Max and they shared a special bond. Shirley was typical of the many employees who worked alongside Max during his 45 years at The Border Watch - they all admired him and he was a friend to everyone. Nothing was too much trouble and he always had time to help a colleague. He was “Mr Fix-it”, the go-to man regardless whether it was repairing the $3m press, a failed computer or trying to fi x the urn in the kitchen. Whenever there was a problem, Max was always the fi rst to get a call for help and he never let anyone down. His loyalty to the company was greatly admired and acknowledged by the newspaper owners. Max began his career during a bygone newspaper era in the days of letterpress and hot metal machinery. It was the days when the paper was printed three times a week and Saturday’s edition was printed late on Friday nights. He attended East Gambier Primary School and Grant High School and left school after gaining a printing apprenticeship as a printer’s devil, eventually completing his trade, dividing his time between the commercial printing section of The Border Watch and composing advertisements alongside compositors Col Hillier and Bob Gladigau. Max showed interest in every machine in the production room and was keen to learn how each machine worked from various colleagues. Later he found his calling in the press room, running the Cossar press which printed the newspaper, working alongside Ray Fowler and Malcolm Bryan. Together they took charge of running the Goss Press when it was installed in 1978. It was at that time when the newspaper moved from letterpress to the computer age and Max embraced the modern technology to later become production manager and systems manager. He learnt every aspect of every machine in the offi ce. He was one of a kind, not just because of his ability to run every machine in the offi ce but because of the great rapport he had with owners, management and staff in every department in the offi ce. It is rare and in many ways diffi cult for someone in a newspaper offi ce to have such a strong working relationship with every department. That relationship was clearly shown with the numerous published tributes from owners, managers, every department and many colleagues, past and present, in the days following his death. From those days when Max fi rst started work, there are few of us left. But like Shirley Earl, most were there at his funeral, along with the many others who had the pleasure of working with him over the years. For Max the newspaper was his life and, while the presses will keep rolling, it will never again be quite the same without him.
October 24th 2013
October 29th 2013