These pages about Jack McNamara are split up as follows :
Page 1 : Ancestors & Siblings and A Family Affair
Page 2 : Letters to the Editor including The Water Trough
Page 4 : Essays - the "A Bloke Retires" Series
Page 5 : Other Essays - Fun and Philosophy
This series of essays were written by Jack when he was working for the Sydney County Council during the 1950's and 1960's. While some of them are not dated and shown as being published, they have been distinguished from the other essays by the fact they have been typed by someone with professional training and clearly they have been edited. The paper that they are typed on is also another common factor which helped in identifying them. A "quid" as referred to by Jack was £1 (One Pound) of currency.
(EXTRACT FROM POWER POINTS)
By : - J. T. McNamara (Workshops).
Published Power Points August/September issue.
Holidays are ever a popular topic among workers.
Who doesn't look forward with great eagerness to his holidays? Countless are the number of times during the year that you'll hear from your workmates "So and so goes on his holidays next week". You can gamble on the reply to that being - "Where's he going?" At this juncture the dignity of work is temporarily relegated to the background whilst all present, with the greatest of pleasure, announce when their own holidays fall due. Despite all discussion and pleasurable anticipation of holidays it quite often happens that someone has not enjoyed his holidays - "had a crook time", he'll say. More often you'll hear "Had a wonderful time". On hearing these comments one can only deduce that the former went to the wrong place and took with him all his everyday pin-pricking work-a-day worries, whilst the latter planned his holidays well ahead and left the worries behind.
I am satisfied that one will not derive the most, mentally and physically from annual holidays unless one decides beforehand to forget all worries. This I consider to be all important.
Secondly, and of little less importance, it is essential to go to some place of different climate and environment. Obviously then, the only destination for a city worker will be somewhere in the country. Too many city workers, who have never been for a holiday into the heart of our wonderful, exhilarating bushland, have the erroneous opinion that a trip to the country consists in going to some place which is situated 50 or 60 miles from Sydney and labelled "Holiday Resort". Many workers year after year, troop off with their families and the portable wireless to these so-called country places. This "country place" is usually some spot where they spend their leisure surfing and shooting the breakers, the same as they do at their favourite Sydney beach. They see the same variety of bathing costumes beautifully displayed on shapely limbs, breathe the same salt air, and at teatime compare it all with Bondi or Coogee.
This could truthfully be said to be the countryman's holiday resort.
By way of comparison take the man from the country. Unlike his city brother, in many cases the countryman does experience a different clime and environment because he comes to the city for his holidays. Upon arrival, he experiences something bright and dazzling.
This man, whose ears are perfectly attuned to all bush noises (many which would be inaudible to the city person) is alive to all that happens, to the seemingly excessive noises about him, and he is amazed at the teeming city life. This never fails to leave a marked impression upon him and continues to offer him pleasure and food for thought after he had returned to his daily work. Holidays thus spent are holidays well spent. If the employee in the city will select his destination as wisely, he too will discover that after commencing work again he may re-live for a long while many happy experiences. It is no exaggeration to say that such a holiday could be responsible for re-orientating our attitude toward our daily work which can and often does become monotonous.
The Power Points Editor inserted the following footnote :
Although not usually sent to the Stirling Henry Woollen Mills, Flemington - a copy of the August/September issue came into the hands of the personnel Officer of that firm. The result was that an application was made to the Council for permission to reprint in the Stirling Henry staff magazine two of the articles featured in that issue "Round the Clock Service" and "Holidays" - the latter contributed by J. T. McNamara (Workshops).
Power Points is happy to accede to Stirling Henry's request and takes this opportunity of congratulating Mr. McNamara on the success of his article - success which may inspire others to emulate his example.
(EXTRACT FROM POWER POINTS)
By : - J. T. McNamara (Sub-Station).
Published Power Points October 1958 issue.
A feeling of hopelessness stole over him as he made his way to the drab, smoke soiled railway station to purchase his "Workmans Weekly".
In utter dejection he had to face up to the fact that there seemed no way in which he could extricate himself from the dull and monotonous job which is the lot of a process worker in a large and important organisation. How futile, demoralising and dead-ended the whole set-up was.
He would have packed up and got out years ago except for the fact that the organisation offered him permanency in employment as well as the economic security for which it had become renowned amongst the employees.
"Economic Security" - that was the killer.
Like the rest of his mates with years of service, he was a slave to security. A few more years in the place and he would like a few other chaps, imagine himself as indispensable. He'd grown rotund, complacent, humourless and entirely devoid of initiative. He'd perform his work auto-maton-like, and regard any other employee in the company with less than ten years service as a "Johnny Come Lately".
The embarking upon yet another week of this monotony was particularly abhorrent, especially when he began to contrast it with the marvellous week-end he had just spent.
For two beautiful days he had been liberated from the hum-drum of the workshops. No-one of academic bent, half his age could be heard airing his knowledge.
He enjoyed those two days out fishing with men of his own age - men over 40 years of age. They came from all walks of life, and by virtue of this fact, their conversations were stimulating and informative, and since all hearts were centred upon the same goal of pleasure 'esprit de corps' reigned supreme.
Then, following the day's fishing came the celebration night. The music, the artistry, the women, the wine.
Why couldn't life continue like this - clean, refreshing, free - in fact, everything that made life worthwhile.
Who was it that said "Man must earn his bread by the sweat of his brow". In this case it was literally true, worst luck.
Damn it - He should have left the place years ago, and amounted to something. Yes - he should be holding down an executive job at the age of forty, like the rest of the chaps he had spent the weekend with.
Who would employ him now, at the age of 40, if he did decide to leave? If you didn't start off at the age of 18 in this brave, new world, your chances of executive status in industry were gone.
Things might have been different had his wife been dissatisfied with his futile job in the Workshops. Some wives were never satisfied with their husbands, and would scourge and drive them on and on, until they eventually reached the "peak of success". Not his wife, though.
"Take a full-size view of your job, and remember the great dignity of work" she'd say; continuing "Why moan about your lot in life? Somebody's got to do the job and it may as well be you".
Then she'd build you up by saying "Your position fulfils that small but integral part of the whole which contributes to its great success, which in turn enables it to render an important and essential service to the public". His wife was, by female standards, no fool and like the rest of her kind she went on to have the last say.
"Men, men - you make me sick. You speak of the wonderful weekend, and that dismal job of yours. You're always talking about the great jobs these men have that you associate with. Let me tell you this - I've talked to the wives of these men you speak of, and you should hear what they have to say. Their tale is far worse than yours".
"You should thank your lucky stars that you're the only one of the whole crowd that's free of ulcers".
"So you see, my dear as I've often told you, distant fields are always greenest - especially on a Monday".
RETIREMENT AND GROWING GRACEFULLY OLD
His time was speedily running out, and the enforced retirement from the Sydney County Council was a solitary reminder that he would soon have to take his place in society as a so called Senior Citizen.
Old Jack was glad that they had changed the name from Old Age Pensioner to Senior Citizen, as this very important change would allow him during the few aching years ahead a certain dignity whilst staggering around the garden with his wife.
He did not at present feel old enough to qualify for the much abused pension, yet the years were there to prove it. Old Jack had never qualified for anything during his past life, and it was only the reaper that would prevent him from qualifying for the Senior Citizen's pension. It seemed to Jack that time itself had been in too much of a hurry to ensure his reaching 65 years.
The last three years in particular had played a mean trick on him, and had wrapped themselves into the duration of only one year. It wasn't fair, and besides he had nothing stacked under the carpet.
This seemingly too sudden onslaught of retirement, he felt was in application akin to the plight of a drowning man whose thoughts, good and bad, they say crowd in upon the mind. The drowning thoughts of retirement had the self same effect upon Old Jack, and had produced a flood of thoughts that he would never otherwise dream.
Was his past 20 years with the S.C.C. a fruitful one? Was it beneficial to the S.C.C.?
He knew of course that no man is indispensible, and at least of all himself. They would replace him quicker than one could bat an eyelid. There were other worries more of a personal nature which he found it difficult to grapple with. He was about to lose his status as a working man, and also the unanimously considered insufficient wage of $50 per week.
Recently he and his mates went on a two day strike for an increase of $4, but were unsuccessful. Shortly, he would lose the right to membership of a Trade's Union, and the right to fight for a just living wage, which of course is in excess of the basic wage.
All would not be lost though, as our benevolent Government would take a paternal interest in his and his wife's future. All he had to do was divulge his innermost secrets by filling in the Means Test. If by filling in the Means Test, it could be proved that he had been a dead beat spend-thrift all his life, the Government would pat him on the back and hand him seven quid a week, all for himself, to grow gracefully old on.
We, all of us, are very conscious of the things which are totally relevant, and which vividly draw attention to our predicament. We should not be surprised then, when we see Old Jack interesting himself in a supposedly humouress cartoon which depicts a working man being farewelled from his work by his mates upon enforced retirement.
This was a joyous occasion for all, with much backslapping and laughter. All became as full as boots - that is, all except the retiring victim, who sat lonely, stupified and staring into space. Anyone approaching retiring age could easily imagine what was racing through this poor victim's addled brain. He was physically capable yesterday, but today worthless.
Twenty years of loyal service and invaluable experience to the firm, straight down the drain. A curse on retirement and gracefully growing old. Old Jack was a plain working man who enjoyed the simple things in life.
Over the years he had spent much of his leisure time in visiting patients in Lidcombe Old Men's Home, where he would distribute literature, cigarettes and lollies. On more than one occasion he had witnessed patients who were "gracefully growing old", eat the cigarettes instead of the lolly. He hopes that he would not grow that "gracefully old" when it came his turn to become a patient.
Old Jack's form of recreation too was quite simple, which mainly consisted in drinking a few at the Hume and at the R.S.L. The more he drank, the more intelligent and vociferous he'd become.
When at the R.S.L. he would linger, and looked forward to 9 p.m. when two minutes silence was observed on behalf of our fallen comrades, someone then would recite "They shall not grow old, as we are left to grow old, nor the years condemn".
He felt sorry for his old 1914 war mate, who because he had grown too gracefully old, was unable to stand on his arthritic feet on such occasions.
It is to be hoped, despite Old Jack's 65 years, that no one will think him a crank. Far from it. He is a true patriot and democrat.
When the Japanese War was in progress, he left B.H.P. as a clerk to fight for what they then called "Our Way of Life". Our Jack sailed away in the Duntroon to the islands, weighing 14 st. 7 lb (203 lbs or 92.1kg) and landed back 4 st. (56 lb or 25.4 kg) lighter. He estimated that whilst away, he had swallowed a kerosene tin full of Atebrin (anti-malaria) tablets, and upon his return looked as yellow as the Jap he had sailed away to fight.
Upon arrival home to 49 Shadforth Street, Punchbowl (This was Jack's mother's address) he poked his head through the window and when his mother saw him she became hysterical and then collapsed.
Jack did not realise at that time that fighting for "Our Way of Life" meant that upon retirement he would receive only a miserable 7 quid per week for all the trouble he'd gone to in beating back the Japs, whilst suffering from Malaria M.T. - itch, and exhaustion. He wasn't sure at this juncture whether he could trick the Means Test or not - if he couldn't, he'd do the 7 quid cold.
Over the past 20 years, Jack had seen many of his workmates go through the painful process of retirement, and just because he was not the victim he had thoroughly enjoyed himself. He had no kick coming then, and couldn't complain when his turn arrived for departure. He could see himself now, the smile-less one among the smiling many.
The foreman, realising that it was his last day on the premises would, in forgetting all his past misdemeanours, go to all lengths on praising him. All his mates would clap like buggery.
He was painfully aware, that when he staggered off with his present, that the next time his name would be mentioned would be when they read it in the obituaty column of the Sydney Morning Herald. They'd think up something silly to say about him. Someone would probably say "remember the day he told the Leading Hand to go jump in the bloody lake? Someone else would say 'give us a look at the Herald" - "the casket leaves Bass Hill R.C. Church 10 am after Mass, for burial Rookwood".
Jack wasn't looking forward to death, but had requested that he be buried when he died, and thereby suffer permanent seperation from his many good Prorestant friends who were all going to be cremeated.
If he could put the clock back 20 years, he would do so at this very moment, and suffer all over again, the Engineers, Leading Hands, Foremen and Technicians.
Unlike the man of 35 years, who is full of vitality, and in anticipation looks to the unlimited leisure and freedom he images retirement promises, the man of 65 is wont to put the clock back 30 years.
The man approaching 65 years is no longer the colt that galloped break neck speed across the paddocks, kicking his heels high into the air and making rude noises, but rather he is the old head drooped and bumble kneed nag who stands (as he gracefully grows old) for long hours under a shady tree in order to conserve the little energy that remains. Oh, what vast changes have taken place over the last 20 years.
We have in reality two different modes of thought. The neglected little green week-ender up the coast which he and his wife tended so lovingly for so many years - dreamed about - lost sleepless nights about, is now completely relegated to the back ground. This is where they were going to "Darby and Joan" it in their old age. This is where, without an ache or a pain, they were going to grow gracefully old.
Now she continually harps at him, as though the purchase of the little green week-ender was entirely his own idea.
"Get rid of the monstrosity. How do you think you're going to keep the thing on 7 quid a week? Why, it costs you more than 7 quid for beer and cigarettes".
Working herself into a rage, she continues "If you think you're going to drag me up there to live among those Hill-Billies - cart water half a mile from the tank - wash in the back yard and listen to the sanitary man rattling his stinking tins at daylight, you've got another think coming."
Poor Old Jack had grown well accustomed to this nag, nag over the years, but despite this, the poor old bastard still loved her, in his simple and inimitable manner. She hadn't been well lately and he'd hate to lose her after all these years.
"Look in that drawer", she yells hysterically, as she points her detergent worn finger. "There's four notices there from the Council warning you that if you don't chop down the paspalum you'll be prosecuted". "Another thing too", she raves, "the fruit trees are full of wogs and are nearly as old as what you are".
You'd better get yourself up there smart quick (sic), chop the trees down, straighten the fence, paint the house, and then get rid of the bloody thing before the white ants devour what's left of it". "Oh my migraine head", she concludes, as she puts her hand to her forehead. Old Jack had noticed that her head was slowly but surely growing worse as his retirement drew near.
He felt as though this was the thin edge of the wedge and that it wouldn't be long before he'd be doing the washing up and the wiping up, plus a bit of housework thrown in for good measure.
How he hated bloody housework. In short, he was about to graduate from a Fitter's Labourer to a domestic, and he couldn't class this as a promotion.
He could hear her now "Get stuck into it, you're not toiling your inside out now for the S.C.C., so there's no excuse".
What a miserable future for our poor Old Jack, and what a miserable bloody way for him to grow gracefully old.
POOR OLD ME
During my lifetime I have travelled many miles throughout the country and have settled down in places here and there. I have, in my various jobs, alternated between collar and tie and overalls. My longest job in overalls has been with S.C.C. (20 years) and my longest job with collar and tie (10 years). Of the two jobs I prefer labouring as one's mind is not bogged down in wrestling with a multiplicity of mundane details, as is the case in clerical work.
The labourer, if he wishes, is free to allow his mind to wander off in an endeavour to solve some problem that may bother him. I was born in the country and my earliest recollections are of wool and wheat. My nostrils still harbour the nostalgic smell of the greasy fleece, the woolshed and at the same time the exhilerating scent of sweet mown hay.
As a child I then peered down through the cracks between the flooring as I walked the woolshed, and a little later assisted my father during harvesting time. Since we were farmers and reliable labour was scarce I lost the opportunity of a formal education. I do not regret this as I believe that if a man is curious by nature, and willing to learn - he will - metaphorically speaking pick up on the razzle-dazzle what he may have lost on the merry-go-round.
Despite this, he must ever remain the unorthodoxly educated person and perhaps forego the finish that a formal education is supposed to provide. I am well aware that at my age I am running near enough to the full gumut (sic) of life. I shall reach my three score and ten in seven years from now.
(Therefore at age 63, this was probably written about 1968.) I am nearing the dangerous age when one's thoughts tend to go back and live over once again the past years, rather than focus on the present and the unappealing future.
Since "Old Age Pension" is synonomous with "spent force and rejection" by our modern society perhaps, with many it's the only thing to do. Man - regardless of age - in his vanity will ever strive to be "well thought of".
The man of my age then desires stability and recognition as a dignified being.
READING AND OTHER THINGS
A certain chap in the S.C.C. had just finished reading a book and so far as I can remember it it was entitle "Nervous Tension". The book, as I remember was very interesting, but then as now I deduced that it was not to be taken too literally. The trouble was that this chap took it too literally. A chapter in the book dealt with "Square Pegs in Round Holes" - which of course referred to men who were holding jobs which they did not like.
The book advised them to leave the job immediately and seek out the job best suited to them. A chapter in the book dealt with Home Life, Domestic Affairs, etc. etc. and advised the man who was unhappy in home life to pack up and leave.
Hobbies and recreation were worthy of mention in this book, and much was said about it. Since this chap disliked his job he followed the book's advice and left - and since he liked his wife less, he left her. His favourite hobby was Ballroom dancing so he purchased an appropriate outfit and took the game up seriously. I lost track of him after this.
The next chap in question was one who claimed communism as a panacea for all our financial and social ills. Books had a tremendous sway upon his thinking. He was a person endowered (sic) with a bright intellect but in his search for truth seemed incapable of sifting the chaff from the wheat.
Communism then, as I have stated was "it" - that is until he became interested in the strange cult called "Scientology". Like many others, he went overboard - hook, line and sinker, and in the finish denounced Communism as the lowest card in the pack.
Since we are talking about books and gullible readers I will take the opportunity to explain the influence a certain book had over our Drill sergeant in New Guinea.
This sergeant handed me a book to read which was entitled "Colonel Blimp". "Read this, Mack and see what you think of it", he said to me. The title "Colonel Blimp" was enough for me, however the story dealt with a small sized professor from our university. The professor's wife was a large domineering woman (women, of course do not have to be large to dominate) who made life hell on earth for this small man, and as a result the poor devil developed an everlasting and incurable inferiority complex.
In order to slip out of her tight grasp he slipped out and joined the army. The next we read about the professor is when he is seated against a tree in New Guinea with his trousers rolled above his knees. He feels something biting his legs and sees great welts arising on them. "What's causing this", he says to himself. In curiosity he looks around the trees. Coming towards this tree is a large string of red ants, and the moment they touch the trees they become invisible. What this small professor lacked in physical status he more than made up for in brain weight. It didn't take him long to compound a solution that caused invisibility. Drinking this solution he found caused him to become immediately invisible. He then got amongst the Japs kicking and hitting them. Since the Japs were unable to see him they began to blame and fight each other instead of their common enemy. When I had finished reading this book the sergeant asked "What did you think of it, Mack - do you think it's true?" I laughed and replied "How could it be true - how could he make his uniform invisible?"
I have met a few chaps in the S.C.C. whose chief source of learning springs from what they manage to learn from the daily newspaper. A great number of my mates buy the paper in order to study the sport's page and everyone of these would qualify as a TV commentator on sport. Many of my newspaper learned mates are ever keen to secure the latest banned book to read and in order to justify this they use the convenient excuse that their aim is to build up a cultural background.
Any book that is banned for the reason that it is likely to mentally disturb or even deprave couldn't be anything else but a cultural book. They, like the publishers arise to the defence of any unfortunate writer whose book doesn't get past the narrow and wow(s)eristic censor. Publishers tell us that we're nearly as bad as the Irish in this banning business.
I have met a few chaps who have experienced great difficulty in grappling with the comparitively simple everyday difficulties in life and a few have succumbed to its lures and temptations. Yet despite this, these same chaps will vehemently assert that they are quite capable of reading in a completely objective manner the banned book which is written and designed by the professional writer to capture the imagination of the mass reader, even to the extent - if possible - of enslaving his mind.
There's no doubt about it, it's nice to be alone with your thoughts and a glass and a bottle of beer and that's where I am at the present time. I'm in the kitchen where I find food for thought and body. There was a time when I was courageous enough to voice my thoughts on this vexatious question of banned books, but at 64 years of age I've had it. (Therefore this was probably written about 1969.)
I've never won one argument in defence of what I honestly believe in this matter. Using an Australianism they tell me that I'm not "with it". Reading this type of thing and clapping like buggers at the club's blue jokes is the "in" thing today, and being in the "in" thing today is the thing to be in at any cost. I think in time people will tire of all this rubbish and nonsense which leads directly to nowhere. They'll eventually resent the attack on their imagination, reject the permissive society for the undignified rubbish it offers and once again return to plain old fashioned home-life, the euchre pack and the belly laugh.
So much wishful thinking? - Perhaps so.
(In which I serve 16 years)
Rarely will you see an Electrical Fitter working alone in a Sub-Station. I will give you the reasons for this later.
Firstly, I think that it is necessary to briefly, and I hope intelligently, explain what is meant by Sub-Station. The function of a Sub-Station is concerned with the distribution of electrical power from the 33 KVA Zone, right down to availability and use by you and me, as householders. This breaking down process in electrical supply is carried out by the Electrical Fitter - or as they are now called E/Technicians.
The S.C.C. no longer generates power. Over the past few years the emphasis has been on building many new Sub-Stations to meet the heavy demand, by this our affluent society. Upon completion of the building the electrician is the first tradesman to move in, and his first job is to perform a constructional engineering-like job, by installing the heavy equipment which is to house and eventually perform the role in distribution of electricity. Precision must be observed here, on installation.
In many instances an area adjoins these Sub-Stations which is designed to accommodate large transformers. Mostly this area is not roofed, and quite often provision is made for extra transformers should the area need them in future for increased supply.
In each Sub-Station we have a division which comprises the High (incoming) and the Low (outgoing). The feed into a Sub-Station is by overhead or underground cable.
Whilst new areas are being developed we will always have new Subs for distribution of electrical power, but for the most part the Electrical Fitter today is engaged in renewing or altering equipment to meet with increased demands.
The type of Sub-Station which I have dealt with so far is mostly the brick constructed industrial type and occupies roughly the same area as the ordinary industrial house. Like a house too, it is built away from the footpath. Perhaps the more familiar type to pedestrians is what we call "Pole Transformers". These are built on a platform between two poles. Dotted throughout the Metropolitan area is the cabin type which is built on the footpath. Regardless of type or size the function is the same in all cases.
Without the qualified E/Fitter, the S.C.C., as we know it - or if you like as we don't know it - could not function. Should a non-electrical section in the S.C.C. go on strike, the consumer's supply of electricity would still be assured for some considerable time. Should the Electrical men go on strike your supply would soon cease.
This then pin-points the man, his skill - his importance in this great organisation. Despite this fact, it is often the case where men in the clerical draw more money, and as we all know enjoy more congenial conditions.
The S.C.C. are very proud of the boys who commence their apprenticeship with them, and every encouragement is given them to attain to the highest Electrical position. Rarely does the council apprentice engage in the manual work which an E/Tradesman performs in Sub-Station work. If he does it is not long before he goes to a better job with more pay.
I should mention that promotion (with all things else being equal) in the S.C.C. is considered in the light of Seniority of Service.
The apprentice has an advantage over many, inasmuch as they have five years in service when they qualify as tradesmen. Here we see young men fully trained and qualified to don tradesmen's overalls, bypass all this, to don a dust coat and take up the pencil for a higher paid Electrical job.
I appreciate the fact that I leave myself open for attack by making this statement, as the answer is - "Every man is expected to know, and be able to carry out every phase of electrical work".
Trade-wise there is a great shift of opinion and appreciation from the days when men were proud as innovators and craftsmen. It is a far cry from the days when men centered their life around the workbench and tools of trade, and boasted about it. The pencil today represents the status symbol, hence the scramble to dodge overalls and tools.
The tradesman of yesteryear, like the modern tradesman had to learn the basic requirements connected with the trade. It should not be thought that the learning of a trade produces a stereotyped kind of a worker, or one who performs his work automation-like (sic). If that were true all tradesmen would be equal in their ability. We would not be able to say that this is a good or a bad tradesman.
A good tradesman, as distinct from what we may call a bad tradesman is one who has thoroughly learnt his trade, and is able to draw upon a vast amount of creative ability which is, naturally, outside the scope of instruction.
The boys then on the S.C.C. or for that matter on any similiar type organisation, who strive to by-pass the tools for the pencil lose this self-satisfying creative pleasure.
So much then for our Technological age, with its learning explosion, with its updating of things that matter, along with the things that don't matter.
P. S. :- One of the main reasons why an E/Fitter does not work alone in a Sub-Station which is active, or "live" as it is called is fairly obvious. It is mainly because of the danger hazard involved on working among "live equipment" that each fitter is given an assistant.
Both the fitter and his assistant are trained by the S.C.C. in case of misadventure among "live stuff". They each know what to do should one or the other become what is called "hooked up".
THE S.C.C. IN OPERATION (Briefly)
The S.C.C. could perhaps to an outsider by virtue of its large workforce, appear to be too unwiedly for those in charge to carry out personal supervision of staff.
This needs some explanation, so for a start let's say that at the hub of this large organisation, with its 6000 employees, we have a clerical staff whose duties it is to keep a personal record card of each and every employee.
The men only know the employee by his service number and pay number, so in this sense their knowledge of the employee is impersonal.
Information supplied concerning each employee in this history compilation is important, as in the case of application for promotion by an employee within the service, these cards are perused.
The interviwing persons glean prior information from this source before the person is interviewed. The information contained by these history cards spring from two sources.
1. By the direct action of the employee himself, (unfavourable). e.g. coming late, in which case the clock reports him, theft, drunkedness, etc.
2. Personal information supplied by his Supervisor as to his ability or inability, his conduct good or bad, his work performance.
Each person coming into the S.C.C. serves a six months probation period. The S.C.C. does not function as one large mass of men but rather in its work rate functions through many departments.
Some departments are numerically large, some small and even individual. All these departments efficiently weave themselves into one. Towards efficiency too, the S.C.C. is split up into areas.
e.g. This is the case with Sub-station workforce - mains and other functioning departments.
I appreciate that we in Australia must forge ahead in the education of our people, in order to keep abreast with the rest of the world. Education today is a must, and at the risk of being shot down by the so called weaker sex, I say particularly for men.
The population explosion is a nasty ghost, which is trotted out occasionally in order to frighten the hell out of us, but since we do not have to grapple with this problem for some years hence, we can afford to be complacent about it.
Not so with the world's education explosion - it's here right now on our Australian door-step, challenging us to compete for a place in the sun. In the light of this urgency, or if you like dilemma, we as Australians, learned and otherwise, accepted without quibble the Wyndham System of education, hoping for the best results.
I feel that the employers small and large, immersed as they are now (and in the past) in their own narrow field of endeavour hold completely erroneous ideas as to what this education explosion means. It appears to me that they have wrongly interpreted it to mean that from hence forth even the most menial of jobs must go to the man with the highest qualifications.
In support of this I could nominate positions in the S.C.C. which were in the past the domain of labourers. These positions require today, exactly the same qualifications they required in yesteryear, yet higher qualifications are deemed necessary to hold these positions down now.
One could rightly assume that there would be many jobs throughout industry where this is happening, which no doubt is brought about per medium of press, television and radio, with its constant and heavy emphasis on learning and education in every sphere.
In giving a person a job where his qualifications far exceed the job requirements, not only is the person of lesser qualification who is capable and able enough, being denied the job he may aspire for, but the person in the job could well prove a square peg in a round hole.
Then again essential industry could suffer, particularly in the time of a national crisis, and who is to say that the past will not be repeated.
So much for up-dating.
Updated : 11 Jul 2011