INK IN THEIR VEINS: Former  production staff Bruce Powell and Athol Green caught up at  The Daily Examiner  160th birthday celebrations.
INK IN THEIR VEINS: Former production staff Bruce Powell and Athol Green caught up at The Daily Examiner 160th birthday celebrations. Adam Hourigan

Memories of DEX in a different era

BEING one of the oldest businesses in the Clarence Valley, The Daily Examiner has employed hundreds and hundreds of people over the decades in its various locations.

A few of the crew who started work in the old site in King St in the 1950s, '60s and '70s (when the paper was printed in Grafton) dropped by for yesterday's 160th birthday celebrations.

Joan Nelson, 83, began working there in 1970 as secretary to then editor John Moorhead.

Mrs Nelson said one of her most vivid memories was the cold, draughty building.

"My feet used to freeze so sometimes I'd put a little heater in front of them. I remember getting chilblains once it was awful. It was so cold and when it rained the water would come up inside the building.”

Besides the less than ideal climate, Mrs Nelson said she loved working there, remaining in her role until she left in 1982. "Mr Moorhead was wonderful. Everyone loved him. He was so well respected in the community and had a great sense of humour.”

Former Daily Examiner employees Eleanor Powell and Joan Nelson at the Daily Examiner Open Day
Former employees Eleanor Powell and Joan Nelson at The Daily Examiner Open Day on Friday. Adam Hourigan

Fellow worker Eleanor Powell (See) started in the King St office in the early '60s after graduating from technical college. She said she was a jack of all trades, "but master of none”, she laughed.

Among her duties, Mrs Powell took shorthand, prepared all the wages, and filed the Examiner editions for binding for the archives at Schaeffer House Museum.

"There were around 70 or more people working for the Examiner in those days.”

One of those people included Eleanor's husband Bruce, the pair meeting at work and marrying in 1971.

Mr Powell started as compositor in the production department of as a teenager "straight out of school”, as did Athol Green.

"We were both 15, but I left in 1990 to set up Grafton Print,” Mr Green said.

Mr Powell went on to spend his entire working life at the paper, clocking up 50 years before retiring at the end of 2007.

The pair remembered many late nights around the printing press, playing cards and waiting for the last minute news to come in.

"When the Ashes were on in England we'd be there waiting around until 2am to get the scores so we could get those in the paper for the next day,” Mr Green said.

Mr Powell remembered setting late election ads at midnight and working on other last minute additions and alterations throughout the night.

"As long we were all printed and rolled before the paper boys arrived on their pushbikes at 5am we were all right,” he said.

Staff worked around the clock in those days.

"We worked Christmas Day and all the public holidays but we got extra annual leave to make up for that,” Mr Green said. "They were good days. We worked together, and then we all played golf together.”