Safety on his mind and timber in his blood, Terry Bennier celebrates 45 years of service

06 Mar 23

Our Stories

It only takes a couple of minutes talking to Terry Bennier to find out that he’s passionate about looking out for his workmates. A strong advocate for safety, and the fourth generation in his family to work in forestry and sawmilling, Terry is celebrating 45 years of service and has shared some of his story.

Terry has been in log grabs for the last 38 of his 45 years of service.

“I started in 1977 at the Nangwarry Sawmill as a 17 year old, fresh off the farm. I started off stacking packs in the yard, then progressed to stacking in the Drymill.

My mother worked back in the day at the sawmill, my dad worked as a log truck driver, and my grandfather worked in the pines. I reckon I was the 4th generation to work at the Nangwarry Sawmill.

I guess timber was in our blood.

I’ve been in forklifts, done my boiler ticket, got into front end loader and bulldozer driving, then moving into a log grab. I’ve been in log grabs for the last 38 of my 45 years. Over this journey I guess one thing I’m really humbled by and happy about is being a trusted advocate for safety and workplace issues. Safety in the workplace is a great passion of mine.

There has been a positive change in safety over the years. When I first started in the Greenmill up at Nangwarry, it was all open with no cabins, there was nothing between you and the saws cutting through logs.

One of my first jobs as a young bloke was to stand next to the saw, tailing out, as the saw cut, I’d flick the wings from the cant, back onto the rollers. With safety now – that kind of thing would shut you down. Simple as that.

Paul Roughana, Terry Bennier, Tim Arnold, and Glenn McCrae – “We’re like a big family really.”

In 1999 the sawmill in Nangwarry shut, so I transferred to the Jubilee site sawmill now OneFortyOne where most of my work career here, has been in the log yard.

Innovations within safety in the industry have been massive. I’d like to think that I have played a part in safety innovations within the in the industry. It’s comforting to know that people can just walk into the industry now and know that there’s good safety, particularly here at OneFortyOne.

I’m President of our Union. I’ve been a Union member for 45 years. I represent our workers over the whole region at a national level, which I find very rewarding. It’s about making a difference with policies, advocating to governments, pay rises and equal rights. I’m passionate about that.

I’m certainly a strong advocate for my workmates with safe work conditions being the big driver. I’m humbled by the work groups that keep voting me in.

It means a lot that they trust me to represent them on the big issues. We’re like a big family really.
Outside of work I was involved in the CFS and I’m a life member of the Nangwarry Football Club. I love fishing, camping, caravanning, and of course, spending time with my family and friends.

Only occasionally do I like a beer…and only if it’s cold!”

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.