04 November 2021
To mark 50 years of operations at BMA's Hay Point Coal Terminal, we talk to employees who have seen it all.
Recently, we spoke to Keith Booker, Terminal Maintenance Leading Hand, who has been at Hay Point for 42 years - starting on 2 January 1979 as an Apprentice Electrician.
"At school I always did well in maths and science, so I had an interest in electrical work from the start."
"It wasn't always the 'done' thing back then to necessarily go off to university straight after school and money wasn't exactly plentiful for us, so instead I applied for a few electrical apprenticeships with local companies. The then Utah Development Company accepted me pretty quickly and so I went to work in 1979."
After finishing his apprenticeship - and proving his aptitude for electrical work - Keith spent a few months working on the new mines being constructed in the Bowen Basin.
"While I enjoyed doing something different, my brother, who was also completing his apprenticeship at Hay Point, told me about a job that was going and I haven’t left."
Keith has seen a lot of change during his 42 years - from culture shifts to technology leaps, to a stronger focus on safety and improvement.
“I have lots of fond memories over the years but having a hand in improving the way we do things here is something I look back and feel proud about.
“Two highlights for me were working on HPCT’s second generation computerised railing and shipping cargo management system used by the control room operators to unload trains and load ships and also helping to convert Hay Point’s Electrical Control Systems from hard-wired to programmable. We completed this work fully in-house, one and sometimes two mini-projects at a time - it was a crazy busy time but so rewarding for all those involved.”
When we asked why Keith has stayed at Hay Point for so long…
"I've had lots of team mates over the years and so many different personalities have walked through the gates but the one thing that's stayed the same is the collaboration and support we get here.
"I can't imagine staying this long without loving what you do and the team around you."
And Keith's advice for the generation?
"Take every opportunity offered to you. Have the desire and confidence in yourself to do a job as good as you can, to not be expected to know everything, to be expected to ask about what you don’t know, and to realise that there is no such thing as a stupid question."
"Treat those you work with as you would like them to treat you. Be a team player. Be happy with a very good team result. It will be better than any individual result.
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”