Kay Orr retires after 48 years at Blackwater Mine

If you’ve stepped foot inside the gates of BHP Mitsubishi Alliance's (BMA) Blackwater Mine over the last 48 years, chances are you’ve met Kay.

Kay Orr, has been part of Blackwater Mine for 48 years and this month she ended one long chapter at BMA, to start the next - retirement. 

The longserving employee, and local to Blackwater, first started at site as a "tea girl" in 1975 serving coffee, tea and biscuits to people in the office. 

Over the years she has worked in many roles, tea girl, Telex Operator (a network of machines used to transmit text-based messages), Office Manager's secretary, Accounts Payable officer, Payroll officer, receptionist and then the Administrators Officer in the Maintenance Department - the role she finishes up in at site this month. 

It’s a common joke that Kay is part of the furniture at Blackwater Mine, and the team have made sure she continues to have a permanent place, creating the Kay Orr Lounge in the main admin building at site, with a plaque sharing her story. 

Congratulations on a wonderful 48 years Kay, and thank you for your valued contribution - your legacy will be longlasting. 

Here are some words, reminiscing on the past, and wishing Kay all the best for what’s to come.

“Kay, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your 48 years of dedicated service to BMA. What a milestone! I know the team has benefited significantly over the years from your deep knowledge, ability to connect people and make things happen. It's people like you that make this great company what it is – thank you. Wishing you all the best in your retirement.” Mike Henry


“Oh great one, thanks for looking after me. You will be missed. Best of luck in the future. Have fun.”

Dave McRae


“Our Planning Team worked off Kay’s custom made Planning Calendars year after year. We loved her even more for her Tea Cake, Tomato Relish and Lollie Jar.”

Roy Gorry


“I remember always heading up to see Kay after 3pm each Wednesday to collect my pay packet from the pay office lady. She would always have a fan on her at her desk even when others were cold from the aircon. If you ever needed anything done or knew who to see Kay was your person.”

Brett Ryan


“We ALWAYS had heaps of fun organising our Maintenance Fundraising times”

Vicki Sharp


“I will forever be grateful for my SAP Queen Kay. Kay was always happy to offer advice when needed.”

Sam Young


“Lovely lady with a good work ethic who was always willing to help out where needed.”

Mark “Chippy” Dinsdale


“Kay has been an integral member for the Maintenance Team for many years supporting all the different teams whenever they required any support including any PPE requirements, organising Team days, Milestone celebrations, and any training support. Kay is a very caring person who always wanted the best outcome for anyone who worked at Blackwater Mine and was always looking for ways to improve how we operated across the Maintenance Teams. Thanks so much Kay for your amazing 48 years of service and good luck with your retirement.”

Nathan Deguara

Former BWM Maintenance Manager


“I had a pleasure of spending 10 years with her, a mere 20% of her career at Blackwater. It blew my mind as a new to industry admin that Kay had only ever worked at Blackwater Mine. I remember her fond recounts of the old onsite payroll days (literally preparing cash pay packets) and her mastery of the Telex machine to which absolutely no one had never heard of. Kay was an inspiration to many over the years and hope she thoroughly enjoys her new chapter in retirement.”

Brooke Walker


“Congratulations Kay on your retirement, it is fully deserved. Over the years I got to know you and you leave a legacy with many, many fond memories. But notably what stands out was your commitment and dedication to whatever was thrown at you, backed up with a positive attitude, view and smile. Those homely contributions to well-known Thursday BBQ’s in the Planning Office will be difficult to match – well done. All the best for the future.”

Chris Goodwin


“ONE IN A MILLION! Thank you for making our working life so much easier each and every day. Your helpful nature will be remembered forever. We consider ourselves lucky to have been part of your many years with Utah and BMA. Thank you and all the best in retirement.”

Rob Stewart


“Kay has been the one constant in all my time at Blackwater. From her days handing out our pays at the pay office window, through to her time in maintenance administration, to the last few years where we have become friends. “Go ask Kay”, was a catch phrase whenever someone needed to know how to do something on the computer or how to get something for the office. Kay is also the source of historical knowledge for the mine, remembering events and people from the mid 1970’s through to the 2020’s. I am retiring with Kay as Blackwater Mine just won’t seem the same without her.”

Cameron Cocks


"Wishing Kay all the very best. Thanks for your support during my 7 years at BWM. She was a wealth of knowledge. HAPPY RETIREMENT!"

Charmaine Snelling


“Congratulations on your retirement Kay! Thank you for your support, knowledge and friendship since I've been in Blackwater. I already miss our horsey chats and funny conversations about the coffee machine amongst other things. Keep in touch!”

Kylie Brown


“On my many travels around the Bowen Basin, I could always count on when I arrived back at Blackwater I could count on Kay to be her. She was always there to assist and help myself and anyone else on the mine site with her wealth of knowledge on all things BMA and ability to help people out of a bind was worth its weight in gold. She will be missed, but her legacy will live on. Thank you for all your help and assistance and enjoy your retirement with family and friends.”

Justin Sloper