Lumber Legends Tumut salute

Our Tumut site honoured employees at their ‘AKD Lumber Legends’ dinner held at Tumut Golf Club on Friday 15th July, 2022. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these awards have been delayed for three years.

‘AKD Lumber Legends’ was created as a way to recognise employees with more than 20 years continuous service. Lumber Legends is about celebrating long term employees for their loyalty, commitment, and service. Shane Vicary welcomed everyone and presented the awards, with the help of Tumut’s site manager Warren “Rab” Green. Comedian Mick Meredith and local musician Andrew Wortes provided the entertainment.

Prominent among the Lumber Legends was Kerry Bird, who recently retired after an amazing 56 years. Kerry received a standing ovation from everyone present when he was awarded his certificate and plaque. “I really like it (working here), but night shift was getting a bit hard,” he said. “I lost my wife and made a decision to retire.”
He started at the mill as a teenager on January 19, 1966. “PGH owned the building then,” he said. “Things have changed a lot since 1966. It used to be very hands-on; now everything is computerised. He was delighted with the night and the recognition he received. “It was really great; I was really surprised,” he said. “I was the last one to receive an award, but I didn’t mind that. They all stood up and gave me a handclap. I thought I was a pop star for a minute.”

Mr Vicary read out some of Mr Bird’s history at the mill. “Kerry commenced with the company at the Gilmore site on a one-month trial,” he said. “He was in the furniture section where he was making components for furniture for approximately three years. From there Kerry went to the gang saw. Some of the jobs Kerry did were stacking timber, grading tongue and groove flooring board and grading and stacking quad. He also worked on the wide planer for a while.

“Kerry was in the planer mill for around 20 years before he went into quality control, working beside Jim Seymour, Dave Polsen and Archie Davis. He did this for around eight months then sorting for approximately three years. “Still at Gilmore, Kerry then went to the old debarker. A new debarker was then built and he was there for around two years. ACI closed and Kerry came into the Tumut sawmill to the debarker. “Outside of work, Kerry was married to Jenny for 50 years before Jenny passed away in February 2021. He is a father and grandfather. “Kerry was a very dedicated and conscientious worker, and we wish him all the very best in his retirement.”

A great night was had by everyone in attendance, it was the talk of the mill for  a couple of weeks after!! We can’t wait for the next one.