Allen Winter steps into the unknown ... retirement

BY the time you read this I will be sitting back on a chair and downing a coldie.

That's while everyone else is at working, slaving their guts out.

None of the above is true, however. While I won't be at work, I'll be kept pretty busy.

You see, last Friday was my last day of work at The Observer; my last day of work until who knows when.

It's called retirement, and I've stepped into the virtual unknown.

We came to Gladstone from New Zealand a bit over five years ago - at the end of 2010 - and in the middle of next month we'll be heading back there to be with four kids and eight grandkids.

However, I must say for myself. I leave Gladstone with a somewhat heavy heart.


Gladstone has been home for us for that time, and we have found this region to be one which is vastly underrated by people elsewhere.

In fact, I had never, ever heard of Gladstone when I applied for the deputy editor's job here.

Gladstone folk, you have a tremendous amount to be thankful for. This is a vibrant city, it is a beautiful city. It is a city which has a heck of a lot to offer, and it is one all residents need to treat with a lot of respect.

In our five years we have met many wonderful people - and let's face it, people are what make a community. Many people in this community work damned hard to make it the best possible place to live. Sadly, there are others who want to knock everything about it - and for what gain?

There have been many, many changes in this region in the last five years, some have been hard to cope with but others have made this place an even better place to live.

The impact of the construction boom has been a difficult one, but we are coming back to some sort of normality now so, hopefully there will soon be some stability economically.

The current downturn in the resources industry is hurting, but with luck and good strategies the effects of that will be short-lived.

On the plus side, one of the most significant things I have seen, and have been directly involved in, has been the improved services offered by our health system. Back in 2011 there was a wide public perception that our hospital was bleeding to death, and we were receiving complaints almost once a week of problems, largely created by a shortage of medical staff.

Today, we seldom receive a complaint about our health service, and the reason for that is the Rio Tinto initiative Here for Health which has seen new specialists arrive at both of our hospitals, and the public and private, primary and secondary sectors of the health system talking to each other regularly and ironing out the issues and differences.

That's just one major improvement, and one which will see Gladstone well served for the future.

Gladstone, we'll miss you. We'll miss our very regular trips to Spinnaker Park, East Shores, our walks along the marina boardwalk, the Tondoon Gardens, Agnes and 1770, Lake Awoonga - whew! Where can I stop!

Enjoy Gladstone, people, we certainly have.


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