After 50 years, the saw doctor is out

Pictured left: Tumut sawmiller Kevin Crampton, (left) who has worked at the mills for 50 years, and site manger Warren Green.

Kevin Crampton has worked at the Tumut sawmills for 50 years and 250 days but this week he called it a day.

“I reckon I’ve done enough; I’ve done my stint,” he said.

Kevin, born and bred in Tumut, began work on the green chain at the Gilmore plant, then known as PGH Sawmill as a 16-year-old not long out of Tumut High School on March 25, 1968.

“I had had three other jobs before here, but they didn’t work out, so I started as a mill hand here,” he said.

He was on the green chain for three months and then transferred into the sawshop at Gilmore.

He came to the Tumut sawmill in 1991, when ACI was acquired by CSR Timber, and has worked at the Tumut sawshop ever since.

He has seen around eight changes of ownerships, from PGH, Acmil, ACI, CSR Timber, Weyerhaeuser, CHH and now AKD NSW.

After half a century, he’s going to miss it.

“Like any job it has had it’s ups and downs, but I have worked with a lot of great blokes in an industry that has seen a lot of changes.”

When Kevin started here, he made about $35 a week.

“Although you could make an extra $30 in bonuses, depending on production,” he said.

Most impressively, over 50 years in a potentially dangerous job he’s only suffered a minimum of injuries.

“Over 50 years I’ve only had three stitches,” he said.

“I’ve had a lot of little nicks, and a couple of years ago I crushed a couple of fingers (they are fine now) but other than that it has been fine. You got to realise these things can bite you; you’ve got to respect what they can do to you if you do the wrong thing.”

Saying goodbye after so long does bring emotions with it.

“I got a bit emotional the other day,” he said.

Site manager Warren ‘Rab’ Green says he will be missed.

“You don’t make any enemies after 50 years but you make plenty of friends,” he said.

“Kevin’s career is a credit to him.”

There are now a few options on Kevin’s table.

“I’ve got a bit to do around the house; I want to do that first,” he said.

Kevin has four sons, three of whom are still in Tumut and one in Queanbeyan.

“Two of my sons are already trying to find me another job, and I’ve been offered a couple of jobs,” he said.