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Bernie Stokes – celebrating 30 years of resilience, safety, and service

04 Jul 23

Our Stories

Over the past 30 years, Bernie Stokes has developed a passion for keeping people safe, drawing on his experience in both his work life and personal journey.

Joining the mill in July 1993, he started his career making laminated beams at the timber engineering factory just as Forwood Products was created, moving to the kilns a year later.

In 2002 Bernie moved across to the Steam Plant and has been a key part of the team there since.

Bernie Stokes joined Jubilee in 1993

Bernie remembers this first day clearly –  it was September 11th, and as he walked into his first shift, his work mates were huddled around a screen watching the events unfold.

A few years later, and much closer to home, Bernie was on duty when the plant turbine incident shook the city. Thankfully walking away unscathed, the close call cemented his dedication to safety, with his contribution and efforts highlighting his commitment in this space and earning him the role of Steam Plant Safety Resource earlier this year. 

After working the four shift roster for decades, Bernie is enjoying his transition into a day job. With a Cert IV in WHS on the horizon, together with his years of experience, not to mention being a fire warden and first aid officer, he is a highly respected part of the team.

 A recent highlight of Bernie’s role transition has been meeting people from other work groups, including some other long termers that have never crossed paths even after so many years, with the split of the plant and shift structure.

Bernie has also been a member of the social club for his entire working life at Jubilee, and encourages anyone considering joining to come along, a great way to meet people and their families and particularly beneficial for those that work in fairly autonomous or isolated roles.

Bernie and his Steam Plant teammates

Bernie’s dedication to safety doesn’t end with training, risk assessments and SOPs – his personal story is even more inspiring.

As a survivor of testicular cancer, he speaks openly about his experience and is passionate about getting men talking about health, with the hope that sharing his story will help others to open up and talk about both their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Bernie has been in remission for nine years and acknowledged the support he received from OneFortyOne during the time he was in treatment and his subsequent recovery.

He recalls, which even during such a tumultuous time evoked a chuckle, when after surgery a fruit basket from the team arrived at his bedside in the Adelaide hospital, all the fruit in the basket was in pairs…

Bernie’s contribution to the safety of his workmates over the years, and his resilience in the face of life changing challenges has been truly inspiring – thank you Bernie, and congratulations for your 30 years of service at Jubilee.

OneFortyOne acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their deep connections to land, water, and community. We pay our respect to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all First Nations people today.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, Māori communities have a strong spiritual connection between people and the land – the wellbeing of one sustains the wellbeing of the other. We strive to build meaningful relationships with iwi as tangata whenua (people of the land/region), to be responsible intergenerational kaitiaki (stewards/guardians) of the land where our forests grow.