Mackay sugar refinery celebrates 25 years
IT WAS a time for celebration and reflection as the Mackay sugar refinery on Tuesday commemorated 25 years of operation and 25 years of Australia's iconic CSR Sugar products.
The occasion was marked with the opening of a time capsule and the unveiling of a new CSR Sugar sign at the Mackay refinery at Racecourse mill by Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson.
Mackay Sugar refinery operations manager Shane Legood said many locals were not even aware that Australia's biggest sugar refinery is on Mackay's doorstep - something he hoped would change with the unveiling of the sign.
"In the crushing period, we take the sugar from Mackay Sugar directly, refine it and turn it into packaging for domestic and also export," Mr Legood said.
"All the sugar we make is 100 per cent cane that's grown in Mackay sugar paddocks."
The opening of the time capsule, filled with photographs and memorabilia, paid tribute to the people behind the refinery over the past 25 years.
There was also a tinge of sadness in the air following the deaths of three local sugar workers within the past eight months.
"It's always been about the people from my point of view. It's the people that make the refinery," Mr Legood said.
"We've asked Lee Austin to come in today and other families of the (workers) we've lost recently too in sad times."
Lee Austin's husband Daryl Austin helped make the time capsule, but sadly died before it could be opened.
Mrs Austin said her husband was with the team in spirit and was proud to be a part of the time capsule.
"Everyone has got fond memories of him. We miss him," she said.
"He was brilliant with timber … With Daryl being on shift, it took a couple of months (to make the time capsule)."
Mrs Austin hopes a memorial will be placed at the site in future to honour her husband and the other workers they lost this year.