26 November, 2022
Beating heart of council retires
AFTER close to half a century working as the beating heart of Mareeba Shire Council’s “nerve centre”, stalwart Tony Alston has decided to hang up his boots, retire and spend more time with his family.
Born in Mount Molloy, Tony moved to Mareeba when he was 15 years old and worked a variety of jobs at mechanical and tyre shops like Firestone Tyres, before he got called up to the army, but he didn’t end up going away to serve.
Soon after Tony learned that Firestone was going to close their shops in Queenland, he decided to apply for a job at Mareeba Shire Council as a storeman, was successful and has remained there for the past 48 years.
When he started working in the council’s stores, Tony’s office was just a tin shed be-fore he moved into a wooden shed and then the current depot building which was built on the site of the tin shed.
“I started as storeman then they promoted me to clerk after about eight years, that’s when I became the stores clerk and we start-ed getting extra staff and building the stores up,” Tony said.
Tony has been working in the council’s nerve centre, taking on big challenges such as Remembrance Day, Anzac Day, The Great Wheelbarrow race and more.
“We arrange everything that moves,” he said.
“I didn’t expect to stay here this long but I’ve enjoyed it here and I am blessed with good staff.”
When the Mareeba Shire was amalgamated with the Atherton, Eacham and Herberton Shires in 2008, Tony helped run the stores across the southern Tablelands as well as Mareeba.
Alongside Trevor Brown, Tony also set up several bush camps at stations across the shire including Wrotham Park, Gamboola, Highbury and more.
Over his 48 years of working for Mareeba Shire Council, Tony says he is most proud of improving the Mareeba depot, clearing more space and building sheds to house more equipment and vehicles.
Originally Tony was meant to retire at 65, however when he got to 65 he pushed it back another year, then another and an-other until he turned 70 on 30 October and decided to finally retire.
Now with his retirement locked in, Tony has plans to spend more time with his wife, Carol, children and grandchildren, do some gardening and finish some renovations to his home.
“I’ll mainly be doing some gardening and watching the kids play netball and football, just spending time with my family,” he said.
As an avid fisher, Tony is also hoping to make some time for fishing trips in Laura, Weipa and other good spots in North Queensland. Tony will officially hang up his boots on 23 December