Representing Hyne Timber and the Hyne family, Optimisation Lead Kelly Hyne was invited to give a short speech including thanking the organisers, Jim Bowden and Dr Gary Bacon.
She proudly recognised the 140-year milestone, while sharing some of her fond memories as well as challenges over the years.
“Reaching this milestone of 140 years is incredible and something I am extremely proud to be a part of.
“This is a year for my family to reflect on our ancestry, the trials and tribulations through wars, floods, financial crisis, bushfires, and pandemics.
“More importantly, 2022 is our year to celebrate 140 years of growth, innovation, and sustainability, all of which, could not have been done without the support and hard work of our team members, including those who have come before us, key stakeholders, and industry supporters.
“Personally, I have lived and breathed timber for as long as I can remember.
“As a young child, my father, Chris Hyne used to pilot my siblings and I in a small plane to visit our sawmills out west. My father was there for work, we were there to explore; sawmills quickly becoming our playground, getting lost in the intrigue and adventure.
“We’d go on family walks through rain forests where my father would point out the various species, explain their identifying features, making a bit of a game of it, to entertain us along the way.
“We’d enjoy hearing many stories of old, such as how my grandfather, Lambert Hyne used to send his young son, Uncle Warren, down the railway line to spy on barges arriving at the then Wilson Hart sawmill.
“To this day, sawmill banter often gets a workout around the dining table, to the point where my mother proclaims, ‘ok, enough sawdust, change of topic please’.
“By the age of 17, I was working for Hyne doing relief work during school holidays at Head office in Maryborough, as mail clerk or laboratory assistant testing wood samples.
“At the age of 19, I experienced my first encounter of being a woman in what was then, a man’s world. I asked a supervisor to consider me for a job. He laughed, thinking that I was joking. I turned up anyway, ready for work! He agreed to give me a go stating “I’m not going to get into trouble here am I. Your father does know, and it is, ok?”
"My father had no idea! Was it ok? Why would it not be, Ok?
“During this time, it wasn’t uncommon to be told I should just observe, as ‘this is not light work, not a job for a woman’. After 12 years I finally felt defeated unable to find my place, so I went off into the world. I recognise with hindsight, that I needed that time to grow as did Hyne.
“I undertook a chef apprenticeship and worked in various food production facilities before taking on a management role with the Parkside Group. However, all the while, I was watching Hyne from a distance with pride.
“Just two years ago, I returned to Hyne where I believe I was always destined to end up. I currently work in a technical role as Optimisation Lead at the Tuan Mill where manufacturing is no longer a male dominated domain.
“I am the first Hyne female family member to work for the company and no doubt the start of more Hyne women to come.
“I am proud that our 140-year journey is one of progression including embracing diversity with more and more women choosing great careers in manufacturing, some of these outstanding women I have the great privilege to work alongside and learn from.
“I am excited for the future of Hyne Timber with our new UK partners, James Jones and Sons. May the Hyne legacy continue for years to come.” Kelly said.
Kelly is a fifth generation Hyne along with cousins Peter and James Hyne, to work in the business.
The luncheon also championed retired Hyne Timber Site Manager Charles Achilles, 88, who because of a recurring ailment, was unable to attend the event and sent his apology.
Charles, a sawmiller most of his life, managed Hyne’s hardwood and cypress sawmill at Chinchilla on Queensland’s Western Downs from 1974 to 1984 and Kelly Hyne recalls him well. Charles then moved to Brisbane to work with Hyne’s wholesale operations.
He recalls Lambert Hyne, who joined his father in the company in 1921 and served until his death in 1985, had a “soft touch” for the Chinchilla mill.
“He was a constant visitor, chatting with staff and often driving out to logging camps,” Charles said.
In drawing the event to a close with a vote of thanks, now retired John Muller presented Jim Bowden with a fitting tribute; a hand-made, timber pen box in recognition of the many words of support Jim Bowden has penned for the industry in over 60 years of journalism and editorial.
Jim fondly recalled interviewing Lambert Hyne in his office in Maryborough, covering the centenary celebrations and many other milestones and interactions over the years.
For information on careers at Hyne Timber click here.
To view our video on 140 years of community partnerships, visit: community partnerships video here.