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Reg Chick @ The Coalface

After over a half a century with The Bloomfield Group, Reg Crick has retired. However, the impact he has left on the company, its people, and the communities in which they operate will carry on for generations.

In an industry with plenty of egos, Reg stands out for his kindness, intellect, intuition and humility. He has been a giant within the Hunter coal mining industry, leading with class, integrity and a genuine love of the industry and its people.

The Bloomfield Group, which includes Bloomfield Mine, Rix’s Creek Mine and Kings Engineering, is often referred to as the Bloomfield Family. A place where people are more important than the coal. It’s a mindset born from the way Reg, alongside Chairman John Richards and CEO Brett Lewis, do business.

You hear it from the people in the pit, you hear it from the businesses they work with, and you hear it from fellow miners in the industry. It’s the reason a position within Bloomfield has long been coveted as the ‘Holy Grail’ of coal mining and engineering jobs.

There are many talented people in the industry, but Reg is one of the greats, a true founding father of today’s Hunter coal mining industry. Few could match the achievements and longevity of his career in mining.

In 1964, Reg started his journey. Fresh from his leaving certificate, he had a few options but chose to place his bet on a surveying cadetship at Newstan Colliery. He managed to get his Mining Survey qualifications in 1969 and looking to progress, he applied for a job as a mine surveyor at Bloomfield.

Hard work and dedication met with a bit of luck as he studied for his Undermanager’s certificate in the 70s. Just as he became qualified, his superior retired and at the ripe old age of 23 he became Undermanager.

Having taken to mining like a duck to water, Reg continued studying and got his Mine Manager qualifications in May 1975, and true to form, became Mine Manager at Bloomfield at age 27.

Reg Chick @ The Coalface

50 years later and he has done just about every job there is. Environment, human resources, industrial relations and public relations are all desks he’s parked his feet under. He’s guided the Bloomfield Group through operations, approvals and then being on the Board of Directors.

He also achieved plenty out of hours and is a world champion in sailing 505’s, winning the Australian and Pacific sailing titles and in 1983 winning the World Championship with good friend Terry Kyrkwood.

Reg is always quick to defer to all the people who have helped and supported him throughout his career. For many decades Reg had the wonderful commitment of his ‘wingman’, his high school sweetheart and much-loved wife Lynda. Sadly, Lynda lost her battle with breast cancer in 2009.

Reg says his biggest industry influences include Kevin O’Reilly, Paul Cant and George McGeachie. For us @ The Coalface, Reg’s influence has been profound and without him you would not even be reading this story.

Reg and his partner Suzie Messner, also of Bloomfield heritage, were instrumental in the launch of @ The Coalface. Their advice and unwavering support, plus a few kicks up the butt, helped to make this magazine a reality. It’s just one example of how this couple dedicated themselves to boosting up the people around them.

To say he will be missed is an understatement. As the industry continues to modernise and move forward, his retirement is already something those whom he has forged a path for and with, is well and truly noted.

Chairman of the Bloomfield Group John Richards said Reg has been central to Bloomfield’s success, both in operations and as part of the Board.

“Reg has helped define our proud history, and over the last 14 years as a Director, he has played an integral role in guiding and building our business and laying the platforms for our strong future.

“We will be forever grateful for Reg’s contributions. I join with our Board and all the Bloomfield team in thanking Reg for his service and wishing him the very best as he transitions into retirement.”

Reg says he has many fine memories of his time with The Bloomfield Group, having worked for four generations of the Cant family.

“Bloomfield’s current shareholders are the great granddaughters of my first boss Roy Cant. The family commitment to the business and all aspects of operations always meant a great deal to me.

Reg Chick @ The Coalface

“My greatest achievement was personally guiding and achieving approvals for our Rix’s Creek Mine site in 1989. The approval helped ensure longevity and success and the mining of the Rix’s Creek resource in tandem with our Bloomfield Mine operations has provided long-term employment for so many families in the Hunter.

“My nearly 60 years in the coal industry is something that I am incredibly proud of, and it is an industry that we should all stand up for in our Hunter region.”

Reg even negotiated the industry’s first enterprise agreement at Rix’s Creek. In one of the negotiations at Bloomfield, after a lengthy log of claims had been submitted at the start of negotiations, Reg lightened the tone after reading it intently to ask, ‘How were they off for undies and socks as well!’

On regrets, a staunch Reg welled up a bit on touching a very personal nerve.

“As the industry and standards modernised and improved, it’s thoughts of the people we lost and those badly injured that never leave me.”

Reg’s legacy is one of dedication, leadership and unwavering commitment to The Bloomfield Group’s workforce and success. His contributions have left an indelible mark on all who worked with him, and his achievements will continue to inspire us for generations to come.

So, to Reg, we say, ‘thanks mate’, break out the fishing gear, fuel up the boat and crack a Toohey’s New, you’ve bloody well-earned it!

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