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Riding off into the Sunset

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There are a couple of people who without @ The Coalface would not exist. Brad ‘Sol’ Solman and his amazing wife Katrina are two of those people.

The reason for this little story is to just say thanks! You see Sol and Katrina have sold the pub! The Clubhouse, AKA ‘the Coalface pub’ has long been our home away from home and where all our most important work gets done.

When we restarted the magazine three years or so ago, Brad and Katrina gave us a heap of moral support and advice and backed us financially with advertising from the very start. Solly had bought the Clubhouse about six months before, fulfilling a lifelong dream of owning his own pub after a long career in mining. The thing about Solly and Katrina though is that they have always, in my experience, loved seeing others fulfill their dreams as well. They did everything they could to help us fulfill ours.

Planning the new version of @ The Coalface over beers at the Clubhouse, Sol was keen to reprise his role as our resident ‘Pie Guru’ – or ‘The Pie Minister’ as many of you know him. Typical ratbag story’s and adventures of a pie loving ‘politician’ in the vein of ‘Sir Les Patterson’. It has become a popular little corner of stupidity amongst our pages.  

While the pub adventure might be over, Solly will continue on as @ The Coalface’s ‘Pieminister’.

At the time of our catch-up, Sol told us that the adventure had so far lasted 3 years 4 months 16 days and 20 hours. And he should know, the two of them have quite literally worked their arses off, taking only Christmas day off in all that time. 

“One of the big reasons we went for it was because people said we couldn’t do it. So, I thought I’d prove them wrongOnce again!” Sol told us in typically humble style.

“The highlights have been the characters in the pub. I won’t name any names, but let’s just say each and every regular has given us a laugh and much more over our time.” He went on, “After this we are just going to put our feet up and do absolutely nothing for the first couple of weeks while we catch our breath and recharge and get through the winter.

“It was an adventure and absolutely worth doing. Bloody hard work though and I’d recommend anyone to do it. Give it a go. Chase your dreams. Don’t let anyone talk you out of it!’ he said. 

A legendary drinker in his younger days, he didn’t drink much while running the pub, but he says he’ll be a regular back at the bar drinking at the Clubby. 

“On the weekends we will spending a lot of time with the grandkids playing rugby league with boys, some might play soccer, and whatever the granddaughter thinks is a good idea, we will do. I want to spend time with the folks as well. They’ve all missed out on a lot,” Sol told us. 

“I couldn’t have done it without the missus. I might even give her a day off now – maybe Tuesdays! Our kids were a great help as well. It really has been a family business and Katrina’s sister Bronwyn was a huge help along the way as well,” reflected Sol.

We wish you guys all the best, @ The Coalface couldn’t have done it without you as well. See you for a beer soon mate.

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Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service is seeking leader to join Advisory Committee

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The Westpac Rescue Helicopter is calling for Expressions of Interest from local business and community leaders to join our Hunter Advisory Committee. The Committee represents the region comprising Newcastle and the Hunter, Central Coast, Central West and Mid North Coast. Its purpose is to advise and assist the Board and Senior Management Team on matters relevant to the local region while providing governance and oversight on decision making.

The Committee currently has 7 members, including its Chair. Nominations are open for one new member and this appointment will be through a merit based process that considers skills, experience and qualifications. 

Expressions of interest close on Friday 16 October

Position advert and Position Description:

This is an unpaid voluntary position and the Service would like to thank our Community for your continued support as we operate 24-7 for all people in our community.

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Students Have A Yarn

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St James’ Muswellbrook welcomes a newly constructed yarning circle thanks to the generosity of Malabar Resources.

Fully funded by Malabar, the Yarning Circle will give students and teachers at St James’ Primary School in Muswellbrook the opportunity to sit together and enhance their understanding of Indigenous culture.

A Yarning Circle is an important part of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and a harmonious and collaborative way of communicating. It promotes respectful relationships and provides an open environment to share cultural knowledge.

In August Malabar designed and installed the Yarning Circle which involved the placement of more than 5000kg of sandstone blocks.

Malabar’s Manager of Health, Safety, Environment and Community, Donna McLaughlin said, “We are delighted to continue building our relationship with St James’ and other schools in the region by providing resources that help their specific needs.”

“We look forward to seeing the Yarning Circle develop as native plants and artwork are added to the space, which will further facilitate cultural learning and understanding.”

The new space was enthusiastically received by students. “Thank you for this amazing and respectful area where we can teach others about our customs and traditions,” said year 6 student Tushawn.

St James’ Aboriginal Education Teacher, Tania Thompson expressed how thankful they are to have a designated place for our CREST Crew to meet and yarn.

“When we meet as a whole group from K-6 around the Yarning Circle, it gives students the opportunity to bond, form strong ties, and unite as one mob,” she said.

“Communicating, sharing and problem solving as a team are some of the extremely important life skills that we refine when meeting for Yarning Circle.”

“We learn to listen to one another and to respect the ideas and opinions of others regardless of their age, as we all have wisdom to share.”

St James’ will use the Yarning Circle as an extension of their classrooms and teaching practice to foster knowledge of Indigenous culture by engaging both indigenous and non-indigenous students and teachers.

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Community

Have You Checked On Your Mates?

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This year has been an absolute shocker and it’s no secret that it has certainly taken a toll on all of our mental health in some way. R U OK? Day this year was more important than ever, and our mining companies and leaders went above and beyond to encourage employees to have meaningful conversations and connect with those around them. Let’s remember to take care and reach out to our mates every day of the year.

McLanahan

This year with COVID-19 restrictions in place the McLanahan team’s participation in R U OK? Day was a little different compared with previous years when they have hosted an R U OK? Day ambassador at their Newcastle premises.

Still wanting to make a difference, McLanahan donated over $2,000 to Craig Clarkes in his Coals to Newcastle Ocean Swim to raise money for Beyond Blue.

“Wow what an amazing generous donation from the McLanahan team. Hugely appreciate your kind praise and lifting the fundraising campaign over the $30,000 mark. Thanks heaps. I will be in touch.”

All staff members received an R U OK? lanyard and a yellow iced cupcake with the R U OK? flag.

DK Heavy Plant Services

RU OK? – that is what everyone was asking in the DK Heavy Plant Services (DKHPS) Workshop on September 10.

Too often people struggle in silence, do not know what resources are available, or even where to start when talking about their mental health.

Sue Milton, General Manager of Upper Hunter Community Services, was able to share with the DKHPS workforce simple advice and resources on these issues and whilst together enjoyed a great afternoon tea and conversation.  

Banlaw

To start the conversation, Banlaw grabbed some delish donuts for the team to enjoy, whilst taking time out to ask work mates R U OK?

“As you can see from our cheeky photo’s, the donuts were a hit and a way for all areas of the business to mingle and remind staff the importance of prioritising their mental health and looking out for those around them,” said Internal Sales Coordinator, Lauren Tonks.

With the combined efforts of their Newcastle and Perth offices, Banlaw successfully raised $216 for suicide prevention.

Northwest Mining

The team at Northwest Mining started the day bright and early with a mental health toolbox talk for R U OK? Day and encouraged the guys to participate by wearing their TradeMutt shirts – a workwear brand, with the mission to make the invisible issue of mental health impossible to ignore. 5% of TradeMutt’s profits go towards ‘This is a Conversation Starter Foundation’.

This led into a BBQ lunch for everyone, cooked by the company owner Shayne Clark. “We discussed some statistics on mental health and chatted about how to start conversations if you’re concerned about someone’s mental health,” said Shayne.

“Everyone was keen to be involved and engaged in the conversations, it was a great day.”

Bengalla

The Bengalla Team celebrated R U OK? Day this year, focusing on teaching people that there is more to say after the initial R U OK? It is important to keep the conversation going and check in on your work mates.

To support the initiative employees enjoyed a coffee and a Kit Kat before and after shift to start the conversation with their work mates. The four important steps include:

– Ask R U OK?
– Listen without judgement
– Encourage action
– Check in

It was an opportunity for team mates to check in on each other and it was well supported from all of site.

MACH Energy

R U OK Day saw Tom, Chloe and Matt take the opportunity to catch up over coffee and acknowledge that a conversation could change a life.

There was discussion around keeping an eye on your mates, actually asking R U OK? and what’s next after you’ve asked the question. The team remembered there’s more to say after R U OK? such as;

– How are you travelling?
– You don’t seem yourself – I am here if you want to talk about anything.
– Have you been feeling this way for a while?
– Have you thought about talking to your doctor or a health professional?
– Just wanted to check in and see how you’re doing.

Persas

The PERSAS team enjoyed each other’s company during a BBQ and discussed the benefits of R U OK? Day, while social distancing of course.

One thing that was emphasised on the day was not waiting until the next R U OK? day to have open discussions regarding each other’s wellbeing, instead keeping it as an open page where employees can talk to each other at any time.

Morgan Engineering

The R U OK day message is important to Morgan Engineering, but not only just one day a year. Mental Health is important to the Morgan Engineering workforce all year round. This year R U OK? Day coincided with the company’s fortnightly Toolbox talk, and Business Development Manager Graham Sutton said that everyone got involved with the conversation.

“It was a great opportunity to discuss what mental health means to our company,” said Graham.

“With many of employees on shift work and having to spend a lot of time away from their family and friends, it’s important for the whole Morgan Engineering team to be there for each other and check on their mates.”

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