15 Nov 2017

A three-month traineeship in 1986 has led to more than three decades at the ports for Jumbo and Kel. They tell us how times (and fashions!) have changed.

The year was 1986. Bon Jovi was about to release Livin' on a Prayer, Oprah Winfrey aired across the US for the first time and Kylie Minogue made her Neighbours debut. Even closer to home, a young James 'Jumbo' Miller and Kelvin 'Kel' Power had just started their three-month traineeship with Harbours and Marine.

Thirty years on, the Bowen born-and-bred pair has stuck to their jobs as Port Service Workers and are happy to pass on some advice to the next generation.

From Harbours and Marine, Jumbo and Kel moved across to Ports Corporation of Queensland and then on to NQBP following the merger with Mackay Ports Limited in 2008.

Get a good mentor

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Jumbo and Kel admit they may not have lasted more than 30 years without the guidance of their mentor and friend, John ‘Marto’ Martin.

“Probably the highlight of our job was working with John as a boss and a mentor,” Kel said.

“The thing with John was that he wasn’t only our boss, he was our mate. If we needed a tune up, he gave us a tune up, but he always worked with us,” Jumbo agreed.

Stick at it

Jumbo and Kel now want the younger generation to take something from their own success.

“You’ve gotta stick at it,” Kel said.

“When you get the knocks or the bad days, you’ve just got to hang in there. A lot of young people these days, they just give up too easy, but it’s worth it if you hang in there.”

Jumbo says he could have turned to other opportunities over the years, but admits he wouldn’t have had the same job security as he does now.

“I actually put all my kids through school with this one job. I probably could have done it while doing other things, but it wasn’t so much of a struggle having a permanent job and working for NQBP.

A big thank you from NQBP

We’d like to thank Jumbo and Kel for their commitment and dedication to the job for an incredible 31 years.