Ross delves for new lifestyle
SEEING your child's first steps, teaching them to say sentences or how to throw a football, are all priceless moments.
And Warwick man Ross Hemmings was lucky to share those moments with his family while working in the mines for seven years.
Ross, his wife Kim and children Sophie and Liam (now 10 and eight-years-old) lived in a mining town west of Mackay where Ross started as an operator before moving into a workshop as a diesel fitter.
"Having the wife and two kids out there, it was pretty good," he said.
"But one of the big reasons we left was, as the kids got older, there was nothing for them. There was no choice of education and few opportunities for sport."
Ross then tried some eight months of drive-in-drive out at Rolleston, near Emerald.
"I didn't want to fly-in-fly-out because of all the time spent at airports," he said.
His family moved back to Warwick and he experienced time at the mines living in what Ross called a "dog box".
"That's what we call dongas, because they're not that much bigger than a dog box.
"I found it hard being away from everyone in Warwick.
"My wife was working full time as well as looking after the kids, it was pretty hectic for her."
It was then Ross decided it was time to give up work at the mines and try to set up his own business in Warwick.
"It's nice to be working for myself, I think my family is happier and obviously the hours are flexible."
That said, if push came to shove, Ross would go back and work in the mines, the money being too good to knock.
"I enjoyed the job too," he said. "And it's a sacrifice sometimes you have to make.
"But I'd only do fly-in-fly-out because the family is much better living here in Warwick.
"I wouldn't support mining in the Darling Downs though.
"There's a place for it where farming and communities aren't impacted."
Last year a Federal Government Inquiry into the fly-in-fly-out/drive-in-drive out practices was launched and submissions are being heard this year.
The Daily News is looking to speak to a number of locals with various experience with the mining boom. If you have a story to tell, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 4660 1318.