03 February 2022
Ivan Matic is BHP’s first ever employee to reach 50 years of service with the company.
A truly mammoth accomplishment for someone who came to Australia without being to speak English and no idea what he was getting into when he signed up to for a mining job in Newman.
“I’ve been with BHP for 50 years and five weeks,” Ivan said proudly.
“It’s a big number, but it’s all gone so quickly, just like that.”
For Ivan, his 50 years may have gone fast, but his first six months in the Pilbara felt like a life time.
“In 1971, the airfare to Newman was $42 which I had to pay for,” Ivan said.
“You had to stay up there for six months to get your money back!”
For a bit of perspective, Ivan’s wage for the first year of his career was 98 cents an hour – but he later got a pay rise to a whopping $3.50 an hour after 12 months – nice work Ivan!
Safety and culture has also changed a lot over the years, with Ivan recalling a time when he could take an esky onto site with two cans of beer and two cans of coke.
“Back then, there was no air-condition in the cabs, it was how we kept cool. And we always pushed with the wind, never into it,” Ivan explained.
Over his five decades with BHP, Ivan worked on everything you could find at a mine site… except drills.
“That was a boring job, I didn’t like the drills,” Ivan joked.
“I worked on everything, dozers, graders, loaders, shovels, excavators, everything.”
Reflecting on his time in Newman, Ivan said he loved the people and the town.
“It was a good town, there has been a lot of change, but I always went to work happy, and came home happy.”
Ivan’s incredible milestone with BHP will be officially recognised by renaming the “White House” crib room at Mt Whaleback to “Matic house” – as no one would have travelled the road to and from that building more than Ivan.
Congratulations on a remarkable career Ivan!