Projects Group take up the Challenge Liam Graduates from
A Newsletter for Gladstone Power Station Employees
A.C.N. 061 519 275
take up the Challenge
brave lads from the Projects group have taken up the
challenge to raise funds for the World’s Greatest Shave.
Not only have they all agreed to lose their locks but they have all
chosen to have their hair coloured as well. The group comprising
Scott “NSW Blue” Ferrier, Graeme “Santa Clause White” Hawke,
Allan “Queensland Maroons” Timm, Mark “ Dumb Blonde” Fleming
and Graham “Pretty Pink”Long will have their hair coloured on 7
Did You Know
• Every 46 minutes someone in Australia gets the news they have
The money you give will also support them from diagnosis, during
their treatment and beyond.
• All the Leukaemia Foundation’s services are free. Let’s keep
them that way.
Scott said following the colouring the group would have their hair
cut on 15 March in the canteen at 2pm.
“Bernie and Jodie have kindly offered to provide the ‘haircutting
services’ so that will be worth seeing.”
“To sponsor us online, just click on the link below to our team
fundraising page. You can sponsor an individual or the team,” Scott
Funds raised from the Worlds Greatest Shave go towards the
Leukaemia Foundation of Qld. The Foundation receives no ongoing
government grants and is a non profit organisation raising money
for the care of patients and their families living with leaukaemias,
lymphomas and blood related disorders.
Graham Long, Scott Ferrier, Allan Timm, Mark Fleming and Graeme
Hawke are ready to lose their locks for a good cause.
Liam Graduates from
Frontline Management Program
Unit Controller Liam Keenan has recently
completed his Certificate 4 in Frontline
Management through Baraka Training and
Liam said he was pleased to be able
to complete the eight subject program
which included areas such as leadership,
operational planning, information systems,
continuous improvement, safety and team
“It’s given me a good understanding on
management principles and introduced
me to new areas of learning I haven’t been
involved in as a unit controller.”
Liam with his Certificate IV in Frontline Management.
“I have been keen to broaden my skills a
bit more and to keep learning with a view to
further advancement in my role,” Liam said.
Manager Production, Tim Danby is a strong
supporter of the program and congratulated
Liam on his achievement.
“I have seen how the program has added
value and how our people have grown
through the training not only in their own
roles but for the organisation as a whole,”
The Frontline Management Program was
introduced by Federal Government15
years ago to provide better training to
organisations directly managing frontline
From Shoey’s Desk
For nearly a decade now, I have been very interested in “how
do we attract people to the electricity industry”, OUR industry.
In particular I have been interested in the need for people in
the coal fired part of that, OUR Industry. It is not just about
attracting people to join us, it is also about how do we retain
people, motivate them, challenge them and create a future for
US already here and THOSE who join US.
Queensland NEM Region Electricity Generation by Fuel 2009-10 (GWhrs)
The fact is here at GPS we have been blessed by a very long
serving, knowledgeable, experienced and dedicated group of
people. Many of those people are now reaching a period in
their lives when they wish to think about their retirement. They
have worked hard and now many are reaching a time when
they should enjoy what they have worked for all their working
lives. For us here at GPS this is both a challenge and sad
time. We are entering a time of transition, a time of old friends
leaving. But, on the whole this is the case right across the coal
fired electricity industry. We have an “older workforce”.
For me the challenge appears to be in three parts. Firstly, how do
we retain the value of the vast knowledge that our people have and
pass that onto those who follow on? Secondly, how do we make
sure those who have been in OUR Industry for such a long period
of time are valued? Thirdly, how do we get new people to come
and join us?
To many “younger” people the coal fired electricity industry may
appear to be a dying industry, something that belongs very much
to the last century or maybe even the one before! By the way, the
first steam powered electricity generating station was opened by
Thomas Edison at Holborn Viaduct in London, UK in early 1882.
The coal fired electricity industry may seem to be “dirty” and
lumbering in this age of computers and electronics. But, what
drives the computers and electronics? In Queensland it is coal!
that will pass away shortly! Well, such assumptions from outside
are wrong. The challenges that we as an industry face means that
in many ways we need to be on the “cutting edge” of technology
and innovation. This is an exciting time to be in this industry. We
have great opportunities which have grown out of our challenges.
If people want to make a difference, if people want to meet the
environment challenges that we face, if people want to work for the
wellbeing of our economy, if people want to keep the lights on, then
THIS IS THE PLACE TO BE.
GPS – Our Future
The coal fired electricity industry may seem to be very old
technology and with the environmental pressures and industry,
Shelterbox on Display
The Shelterbox contains a custom made 10 person tent and
a range of survival equipment including thermal blankets,
insulated ground sheets, tool kit and multi fuel stove.
General Manager Gladstone Operations and Gladstone
Rotarian, Glenn “Shoey” Schumacher said the Rotary clubs
across the world support the Shelterbox project with each
box put together and distributed through aid organisations in
Australia and overseas.
to help promote sponsorship of the Rotary International
“NRG has purchased a number of these through Rotary
in Gladstone over the years for use in places such as Haiti,
Pakistan and most recently Japan following the Tsunami. They
are a great way of getting support to those who need it. We
would like to encourage all people in our community, both
corporate and individual to support this very worthwhile cause,”
Valued at about $1,200 the Shelterbox is an emergency kit
designed to be deployed for disaster relief around the world.
The Gladstone Rotary Club recently erected a Shelterbox on the
NRG front oval to help promote awareness in the community.
General Manager Gladstone Operations, Glenn Schumacher poses
for a photo with fellow Gladstone Rotarians Col Chapman, Greg King,
Des McGee and Kurt Heidecker.
NRG played host to a group of Gladstone Rotarians recently
- 50 Years on and Still Going Strong
Fuel Supplies Specialist, Don Shambrook
has achieved the remarkable milestone of
50 years in the electricity industry on 30
January. As far as we are aware Don is
the second person to have achieved this
milestone. Gladrag editor Gary Macnamara
spoke to Don about his achievements and
his plans for the future.
Don celebrates his 50 years in the electricity
industry with the cutting of the cake.
Tell us about your early career prior to
I was born in Rockhampton and
commenced work in January 1962 as an
apprentice boilermaker (aged 16) at the now
dismantled Rockhampton B Power Station.
Whilst completing my apprenticeship
I studied (five years) of a Mechanical
Engineering Diploma at the Rockhampton
Technical College and Capricorn Institute
of Advanced Education. During this time
I also got to work in the station laboratory
and was appointed Laboratory Supervisor
following my apprenticeship.
In this role I was responsible for boiler
water chemistry and coal analysis, boiler
and turbine control systems and plant
performance reporting. A major highlight
during my 11years at the station was my
involvement in the post commissioning of
the first large combustion turbine powered
25 MW generator in Australia. I moved
to Collinsville Power station in 1973 and
spent three years preparing operator
training manuals for a 60 MW tangentially
fired boiler turbine unit, training operators
about the 60 MW unit and assisting in the
commissioning of the Ash, Hydrogen and
Demin Plants while relieving the Station
Chemist and Plant Performance Officer.
Tell us about your years at GPS and
some of the highlights here
I was seconded to GPS through SEAQ
in January 1976 and spent many years
testing plant at the station. There were
always a lot of issues trying to improve
the reliability of the plant in the early days.
In 1985 I became involved with the coal
handling plant and since that time I have
been involved in the purchase of all the
mobile equipment for the coal plant. In 1988
I was seconded to the Plant Improvement
Project and facilitated many of the 25 Value
Engineering (VE) studies undertaken as
part of the refurbishment.
Looking back over my 50 years the VE
studies were probably the most exciting
and rewarding time for me. It provided an
opportunity for me to assist the workforce to
participate in improving the plant and to put
forward their ideas to influence their work
environment. It was especially pleasing
to see employees realising their potential
through being part of the studies. People
are still going back to them today and finding
ideas they can implement. As a result of the
studies a $42 million plant improvement
program was undertaken which significantly
improved plant availability.
Following the sale of the station in 1994
my responsibilities changed from the day
to day operation of the coal plant to the
administration of the fuel and rail haulage
contracts. Many of the original contracts
have expired in the past 15 years and I
have been involved with the renegotiation
of the contracts and providing advice to
ensure NRG gets the best possible deal.
In recent times the wet weather which
caused significant damage to mine
infrastructure in 2010 and major damage
to rail infrastructure in 2011 was one of the
most difficult periods I have been involved
with fuel at GPS. Not only was GPS very
low on coal but other coal fired power
stations also faced major reductions in coal
Tell us about your years competing in
I started sailing when we moved the family
to Gladstone and competed in 13 Brisbane
to Gladstone yacht races, five Hamilton
Island Race Weeks and numerous race
regattas and yacht delivery passages
between Sydney, Townsville and Noumea
to Townsville. While I have never owned
my own boat I have enjoyed sailing on
other people’s yachts as crew or on their
behalf. I have many memories of my sailing
days but standing my watch as helmsmen
on a 23.5 metre maxi yacht in the 1988
Gladstone to Hamilton Island Race stands
What’s kept you going over 50 years?
Work has always been fun for me. I still find
the industry an exciting and challenging
one in which to work. While there have
been stressful times along the way, a
difficult period has always been followed
by a challenge to focus and rekindle
that commitment. When I started at
Rockhampton Power Station I was going
to college five nights a week, studying until
midnight and then going to work at 7am. I
really enjoyed it and it never seemed like
hard work to me. It was very rewarding
applying what I learnt at night to my day job
at the power station. Going to Collinsville
Jean and Don pose for a photo with the Davy
Miners Lamp which was presented to Don at
his 50 years.
was a big learning curve and joining GPS
while it was still in the early stages of
construction was also an exciting time. An
interesting point about my career is that all
the roles I have worked in have all been
about supporting Production and there have
been many firsts along the way. I would like
to think that all the people I have worked
and come in contact with have contributed
in some way to my career.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to keep working while I am still
enjoying it. I find it very satisfying. I plan to
stay in Gladstone for the immediate future
and perhaps do some overseas travel.
I often think about what it will be like in
retirement and I know one day I will come
to the realisation that I have done enough.
At the moment I am keeping reasonably fit
swimming every morning and going to the
Work Continues on Hazard Reduction Program
Work is continuing on the hazard reduction program.
Manager Major Projects, Steve Lewis said new projects would
continue throughout 2012 despite the retirement of Rick Thomason.
“Graeme Hawke has taken on the co-ordinator’s role that Rick has
fulfilled since the program began in 1994,” Steve said.
Following the sale of the station, NRG instigated a planned project
based program to reduce the risks of potential incidents and
eliminate identified hazards on the station.
Safety and Environment Officer Dave Greinke said that since the
introduction of the hazard reduction program many of the identified
hazards that were associated with working from heights, access to
plant and equipment and manual handling, have been eliminated.
• Commencement of the project to improve access for maintenance
of the Units 1 to 4 detention pond.
• Replacement of the translucent sheeting near the machine shop.
Planned projects for 2012 include:
• Replacement of sheeting on the coal plant transfer towers.
• Continuation of the project to improve access for maintenance of
the Units 1 to 4 detention pond.
• Repairs to the coal plant tower 20 floor.
• Installation of the new coal plant tower 15 access platforms and
counter weight lifting systems.
• Installation of coal plant tower 18 and 19 access platforms.
“These hazards present some of the greatest risks associated with
operating the station so we have spent a lot of time and money on
projects to reduce or eliminate these hazards.”
“While the solutions to identified hazards are not always obvious,
the involvement of the workgroup employees is critical in coming
up with practical and effective solutions,” Dave said.
Some of the projects completed during 2011 include:
• Main car park resurfacing.
- 4 demin plant upgrade – improved access and egress and
• Replacement of sheeting on the coal plant transfer towers.
abrication / installation of storage platforms on boiler level 4 out
from the lifts and the installation of new winch systems.
Dave Greinke checks out the replacement sheeting on the main workshop
She may have been here only 12 months but
former Administration Trainee, Louise Lund will
be missed by those who had come to enjoy her
easy going personality and helpful attitude.
Louise said working at NRG had been a
great experience and helped her build more
confidence in talking to people. She is looking
forward to taking up full time studies at CQ
University this year.
“The experience I have gained here has taught
me a lot about business and working in the HR
area,” Louise said.
We wish Louise all the best with her future
Louise is looking forward to taking up full time studies.
Green Hawkes Clean up at Rec Club Golf Day
Despite the hot weather Rod said the players had enjoyed the
camaraderie and were looking forward to participating again in the
next golf day planned in a few months time.
“It was especially pleasing to have the management team on board
not only turning up to play but making sure everybody kept up their
fluid intake throughout the day,” Rod said.
Thanks to Dave Greinke and Mark Chadwick for also helping to
organise the event.
Rod Brown congratulates golf day winners Bruce Green and
The inaugural Rec Club Golf Day was a great success with 36
players enjoying a social round of golf at the Gladstone Golf Course.
Team Green Hawkes (Bruce Green and Graeme Hawke) cleaned
up on the day blitzing the strong field with a nine hole score of 32
(27 with handicap).
Event organiser Rod Brown suggested the pair had “sharked the
day” promising the handicapper would come down hard next time.
Andrew Lockwood and Daniel Peatey catch up at the Rec Club golf day.
5S Implementation Underway
of the 5S workplace housekeeping system is
underway on site at GPS.
Manager Maintenance, Martin Thomas said the 5S System would
improve efficiency and provide a safer environment for employees.
“5S is a means to improve safety and better organise the working
environment. It also leads to improved productivity and improved
employee morale. The system can also be applied to the home,
including the shed,” Martin said.
Dr John Ter Morshuizen of “Just Performance Learning” has
been conducting 5S workshops with workgroups to improve their
knowledge of how 5S can be implemented.
A 5S steering committee has been formed comprising Martin
Thomas, Tim Danby, Garry Coleborn, Steven Heit, Dave Greinke,
Scott Ferrier, Lindsay Prizeman and Rohan Parker.
• Sort - eliminate all unnecessary tools, parts, and instructions.
Keep only essential items while prioritising things and keeping
them in easily-accessible places. Everything else should be
stored or discarded.
• Set in Order - there should be a place for everything and
everything should be in its place. Each item should be clearly
labeled and items should be arranged in a manner that promotes
efficient work flow.
• Shine - clean the work environment while keeping all equipment
tidy and organised.
• Standardize - work practices should be consistent and
• Sustain - maintain and review standards.
Safety Officer, Dave Greinke said that the 5S system would not
only result in clean and organised workshop and offices but also
reduce the risk of potential incidents.
5S is the name of a workplace organization system that uses five
primary phases - Sort and Discard, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize
The list describes how to organize a work space for efficiency and
effectiveness by identifying and storing the items used, maintaining
the area and items, and sustaining the new order. Decisions help
to build ownership and a clear understanding among employees of
how work should be done.
Calvin Parker is a keen supporter of the 5S workplace housekeeping
Kevin Ryan Welcomed into 25 year Club
After 25 years at GPS it is hard to image
anyone on site who has played a more
active role in supporting station and
community activities than Units Technician
Over the years Kevin has been actively
involved in promoting NRG in the
community through his dedicated support
for the cancer fundraiser, Relay for Life
and the annual Adopt a Family Christmas
promotion. As well as this he has been a
keen supporter and participant in Clean-
up Australia Day, Ecofest, the Schools and
Industry Science Group, Careers Markets,
Earthwatch and the Gladrag.
If this wasn’t enough he has also
contributed 11 years to the Emergency
Response Team, 12 years as an Equity
Referral Officer and previously taken on
the role safety representative for the Units
Kevin has also been very active in the
community through his role as the contact
person for the Gladstone Area Coeliac
“It’s good to be involved in the community.
I like the fact that if you take on community
projects NRG will generally support you. I
am always amazed when you take on fund
raising projects that our employees are
always willing to put their hands in their
pockets and contribute so much,” Kevin
Prior to joining the station on 9 February
1986 as a technician in the Units area Kevin
had worked for seven years as a pastry
cook and about seven years with James
Watts Electrical which included some years
on the construction of Units 5 and 6.
Kevin is always keen to support station and
Initially working as a trades assistant for
James Watts, Kevin remembered being
approached by his foreman at the time
to take on an apprenticeship at the age
of 24. Adult apprenticeships were not
available then so Kevin’s wage dropped
considerably. He remembers pressure from
a couple of tradesmen encouraging him not
to take it on as the drop in wages was not
acceptable in their minds. However Kevin
did not take their advice and has never
“Becoming an electrician meant I could
put a different current in the buns” Kevin
As well as completing his second
apprenticeship and Diploma in Electrical
Engineering Kevin has since gone on
to obtain a Certificate IV in Workplace
Training and Assessment and a Graduate
Certificate in Maintenance Management.
Besides his involvement in community
activities, Kevin says the highlight of his
working life at GPS was being able to help
design the logic for the Foxboro Control
System when it was first installed in the mid
“It’s a very supportive and friendly
environment throughout the power station
and I’ve really enjoyed my 25 years here,”
NRG Employees Roll up their
Sleeves to Give Blood
NRG employees are continuing to support
the Gladstone Red Cross Blood Bank by
making regular donations on a monthly
NRG Warehouse Officer, Evie Higgins who
coordinates the roster for the power station,
said four groups of employees donate blood
on a regular basis at the blood bank located
opposite the Emergency Department at the
entrance to the Gladstone Hospital.
“We have about 60 employees who regular
donate blood with an average of eight
employees donating each month. Most of
these give whole blood while we have a few
that also give plasma as well.”
“I had previously worked as a collector at
QML in Gympie as well as having cancer
myself so I understand the importance of
giving blood,” Evie said.
Trainee Operator Ray Waghorn has been
donating blood on and off for over 30 years.
“Sometimes work commitments make it
difficult to get there but NRG have made
it easy for employees by allowing them to
have time off to donate blood. It might be
any of us one day on the side of the road in
need of that blood,” Ray said.
Safety Officer Dave Greinke has been
donating for blood and plasma for over
ten years and said that up to 900 grams of
plasma can be donated every two weeks.
“The plasma can be used to make 17
different products and contain very
important proteins, nutrients and clotting
factors which help to prevent and stop
bleeding,” Dave said.
litre, which is less than 10% of your total
blood. An average size adult has a blood
volume of five litres.
• One in three people need blood, one in 30
• On the day of your donation it is important
to consume plenty of water, as this makes
the collection easier.
Employees interested in wanting to donate
blood can contact Evie on ext 570.
Facts about Blood Donations
• All blood donations are tested and
processed and are available for use
between 24 and 48 hours after collection.
hole blood is separated into components
(red cells, platelets, plasma.)
• After processing, red cells can be stored
for 42 days. While platelets have a shelf
life of only five days, plasma is frozen and
can be stored for up to 12 months.
• A single unit of blood taken during a whole
blood donation is 470ml, less than half
Station Electrician Steven Heard is a regular
donor at the Gladstone Red Cross Blood Bank.
John Dickfos Joins 25 Year Club
Superintendent, John Dickfos is
the latest inductee to the NRG 25 year
Reflecting on his time at the station
John said he remembered talking to
one of the more senior technicians
when joining GPS saying “I cannot
believe someone could stay in the
same industry for 25 years but now it
is my turn.”
John started his working life by
completing an electrical apprenticeship
at Qunaba Sugar Mill in Bundaberg in
Moving to Gladstone John joined GPS
as a control system technician in 1987
before joining the production team as
an Auxiliary Plant Attendant in 1990,
initially on “A” shift.
Following the Production Reorganisation
in 1998 he became an inaugural member
of “E” shift as a Unit Controller. Further
promotions followed in 2002 when he was
appointed as Power Plant Coordinator on
“B” shift before returning back to “A” shift in
2005 as a Shift Superintendent.
John said one of the changes he had
noticed over the years was the improved
reliability of the station.
“Those were the days. I was recently
reviewing a document that stated unit trips
were down from 12.5/month in Jan 1996 to
less than 2/month in Aug 2001. It’s been a
John said some of the highlights during his
time at GPS have included
• The wealth of learning opportunities
provided by GPS and the electricity
• The introduction of a screen based control
system and graphics projects.
• Participating in the “Conserving
Koalas” Earthwatch Expedition at
“Throughout my time at GPS there have
been numerous people who have come
and gone, but all have willingly shared
their experiences and knowledge and I
have really appreciated this,” John said.
Over the years John has always
sought to continuously upgrade his
qualifications and along the way he
has completed a Diploma in Applied
Science and Bachelor of Information
Technology. Currently he is completing
the final subject for his Masters in Power
Generation and enrolling in a Masters in
Business Administration could be next
on the agenda.
Outside of work John likes to plan
holidays with usually a few on the go at
any one time.
• Involvement in a variety of Business
Improvement Processes such as VE
Studies, Systems Review Workshops,
Business Planning Process and EBA
“We discovered cruising in 2006 and are
off on our 11th cruise, this time to New
Zealand in February. In 2007 we took
all our children on a cruise and formed a
good relationship with our table waiter.
He is from Indonesia, so we go and stay
with him and his family once per year.”
Manager Production Tim Danby presents John
Dickfos with his 25 year gift.
“This year we are planning to utilize the
caravan a lot and start easing into the
grey nomad set,” he said.
Getting Personal with Contracts
Officer Nigel Wildey
What attracted you to NRG and
Gladstone Power Station?
Various people that I respect within the
industry have spoken highly of Gladstone
Power Station and therefore the reputation
of GPS was a draw card.
In the short time you have worked at the
station what’s been your impression of
the plant and people so far?
I have enjoyed meeting people and learning
about the different roles that people have
at NRG. Everyone has been friendly and
willing to assist when I have inquiries. In
terms of the plant I have noticed that the
grounds and general house keeping are
What have you enjoyed about working in
your new role in Procurement Services?
Firstly the people, having good working
relationships with other people in the
procurement services team makes coming
to work enjoyable. I have enjoyed learning
how NRG has a strong focus on long term
“partnerships” with contractors, as well as
contractor pre qualification that I haven’t
had very much experience with.
Tell us about your previous roles and
Before NRG I worked at CS Energy as
the Site Contracts Coordinator for Callide
Power Station. A highlight from that role
was sourcing a contractor for carting coal
for the Callide A Oxyfuel project. Before CS
Energy I worked at Stanwell Corporation
as a Graduate Commercial Officer. As
a graduate I was involved in projects
across the Stanwell portfolio. I was based
predominantly at Stanwell Power Station
but also completed a job rotation in the
The NRG Service Register
recognises employees who have
completed 10 years service or
more in the Queensland electricity
industry and who have been
employed at GPS since the Sale of
the Station (31/3/94). This register
is for employees whose anniversary
falls during the month of and
February and March.
Tell us about some of your interests and
I enjoy enduro dirt bike riding and keeping
fit with swimming, cycling, jogging and
the occasional social triathlon. Having
recently purchased a house in Gladstone,
I enjoy planning and completing home
What do you like about living in
Gladstone has a good mix of services,
location (being close to family in Rocky)
and being on the coast.
Where were you born and where did you
do your early education?
I was born and bred in Rockhampton and
went to Heights College.
31 years Tony Padget,
Neville Beckman, Paul Lowry, John Hunt, Paul Cupitt
Tell us a little bit about your family
I am the eldest of four children and my
father is a fitter and turner at Qmag.
My worst habit is… Over indulging on
biscuits at work. Luckily the ladies at work
keep a check on my daily intake.
At home I like to cook… A nice steak and
The best holiday I’ve ever been on was
to… Turkey and Greece. Turkey has a lot
of interesting history including Gallipoli.
And Greece… well someone has to keep
their economy going.
You wouldn’t know it but I’m no good
at … Golf
The hardest thing I’ve ever done was…
Most things in life aren’t that hard when you
break it down and have a plan.
Ken Harris, Ian Dodd
Kev Ryan, John Lynch
Ciaran Joins Emergency Response Team
Third year Station Electrical apprentice
is the latest recruit for the Emergency
An enthusiastic self starter Ciaran said he
had always been interested in improving
his kills and believed that the training would
build upon the skills he had learning as a
“We have do lot of first aid training and
practicing boat rescues at lifesaving and I
thought joining the Emergency Response
Team would help improve these skills,”
Ciaran said he was looking forward to
learning new skills such as advanced first
aid, vertical rescue, using the breathing
apparatus equipment and getting his MR
licence for the fire truck.
assists in local
As well as completing a number of formal
courses Ciaran will attend weekly training
sessions with the team on Wednesday
The GPS Emergency Response Team
provides a first response role in the event
of a fire or accident, assists in fire related
issues, provides confined space entry
Ciaron is the
latest recruit to
Where are they now?
– Nigel Stack
What period did you work at GPS?
I worked for 21 years at GPS from 1980 to
2001. Prior to that I did about a year and a
half at Collinsville Power Station as a Plant
Attendant in Operations.
Tell us about your roles at the station.
All my time at Gladstone was in operations
starting off as a Relief Auxiliary Plant
Attendant working through to Unit Controller
from 1982. From 1998 I was act up PPC
when required, along with Tony Fraser.
What are your fondest memories of
working at the station and who are some
of the people you enjoyed working with?
My fondest memories are in the pre
interconnector/national grid days. There
was really only GPS back then to absorb
system frequency swings when the grid
encountered big generation or load losses
so Gladstone took the brunt of it. Most of the
other stations of any size were base load
and system frequency would go through the
roof or the floor. It was very much hands on
for an operator and we gained tremendous
experience pulling the units back from the
brink. At other power stations I’ve worked
at, the equipment could not handle hits like
GPS received and survive staying online.
Looking back it was incredible the number
of situations when it looked like a unit would
definitely trip and operators would pull it
back to a stable situation.
Also the transition from the old push button
panels to DCS was an interesting time to be
an operator to compare the two systems.
With the old push button panels, operators
could pick up an issue in the blink of an eye
by a change in status on the control desk.
With the DCS being an alarm driven system,
operators have to rely on alarms to indicate
an issue. GPS was well advanced in the
implementation of DCS when compared
with other power stations in the state. With
AGC we would be moving around before,
during and after the peaks and during the
day the station was able to meet all sorts
of running scenarios and system demands.
We went from doing 300MW operational
tests on good coal with all igniters in, to
running 80MW overnight. That in itself is
testament to the operational flexibility of the
As far as people go I enjoyed working with
people right across the plant but the guys in
operations, some who still work there, were
the best. Everyone helped each other out
and had a good laugh at the same time. I
also worked with all the people
who have passed away over
the years and it is particularly
upsetting when you hear about
people like Frank Moody and
Gary Matthews when they
What did you enjoy about
living in Gladstone?
Pretty much most of the time
it was a go ahead place to
live. There were some quiet
construction periods but I
enjoyed the fact that something
was always happening. There
are plenty of good places to eat
and you can pretty much throw
Nigel has fond memories of working at GPS.
a line in anywhere. Gladstone
has given many people a start
in life, myself included. I bought
Generation, I went to Origin Upstream
my first house there and it was great for as a Desalination Plant Supervisor at the
families, not only living there but for jobs Talinga Gas Compression Facility near
for young people and having CQ University Chinchilla. After 12 months I then moved to
my current role as a Shift Asset Manager
with Queensland Rail working out of the
What have you done since leaving
train control centre at Mayne in Brisbane.
Gladstone Power Station?
After GPS I went to Millmerran PS and did a I have all my various roles over the past few
year as an operator commissioning on Unit years and looking back, I wouldn’t change
1. I then became a Shift Supervisor and a thing. I do miss power generation but
stayed in that role until September 2007.
feel very fortunate to have worked across
three technologies, being sub critical,
After leaving Millmerran PS I went
supercritical and combined cycle.
contracting as a Staff Trainer with BHP
at Olympic Dam in South Australia for Do you still keep up with any GPS
six months assisting in introducing a new employees?
permit to work system. At that time BHP I don’t keep up with many GPS employees
had to deal with one death per month at on a regular basis but while working at
their sites across the world due to PTW DDPS we purchased PAS which is the
incidents. While I was at Olympic Dam same PTW system as GPS. I was fortunate
an employee was killed in a PTW related enough to come to GPS in relation to PAS
incident. This was prior to the introduction and caught up with Lindsay Prizeman, Ken
of the new system. This was a very difficult Harris and all the guys on shift during the
time for the staff as the new PTW system two days we were there. Also I worked
was going to make life a lot harder for them. with Cameron Purdon while he was at
Trainers like me copped a lot of verbal Millmerran and have run into others around
abuse during this time. I then moved to the traps at times.
Cape Lambert PS, just south of Karratha
as a contract Power Station Operator with Tell us a little bit about your family?
Rio Tinto for six months. The plant had gas I have been married to Johanne for 32
years. We had no children but Johanne has
two children (Cheryl and Michael) from a
Towards the end of 2008 the world economy pervious marriage and I treat them as my
started to slide so I joined Origin Energy at own. Cheryl is a stay at home mum and her
Darling Downs Power Station (DDPS) as husband Bryce is the Stores Manager at
a Shift Supervisor. DDPS is the largest Hawker Pacific Aviation at Cairns Airport.
combined cycle power station in Australia Michael is a refrigeration mechanic and has
at 630MW and the boilers operate off his own business in Atherton and his wife
waste heat from the gas turbines exhausts. Sheryl is a degree qualified nurse.
After two years at DDPS with Origin