After clocking decades of service to the community long-term City of Greater Geraldton employees Natale Iaria and Patrick ‘Jimmy’ Giles have retired.
Since joining Geraldton and Greenough Shires back in the 1970s and 1980s, Mr Iaria and Mr Giles have collectively served the community for more than 71 years.
Mr Iaria, who was hired by the Town of Geraldton in 1975 as a ‘kerb layer’ building roads, footpaths and drainage, said back then things were very different than they are today.
“When I started, the works department employed about 90 people. There was one engineer, two supervisors and we fixed and built everything ourselves, we did it all by hand,” he said.
Mr Giles, who joined the Shire of Greenough in 1988 as an offsider and then moved into road maintenance driving a roller and later a gravel truck, said the biggest change he saw over the years was the amalgamation of the former Geraldton and Greenough shires.
“When I worked for the Shire of Greenough my job was sealing gravel roads. After the amalgamation, my job changed and I began repairing and resurfacing roads around the City region,” he said.
Over the years, both men have been involved in the maintenance and development of infrastructure the community uses and enjoys every day.
During Mr Giles’ 29 years of employment he sealed and maintained hundreds of kilometres of the City region’s road network.
Mr Iaria worked on a number of key infrastructure projects during his 42 years of service including the development of the Mount Scott subdivision in the mid 1970s, external works during the construction of Queens Park Theatre in the early 1980s and the removal of the former railway line and rocks, and construction of drainage for the Foreshore development in the mid 2000s.
City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said both men were highly thought of by fellow staff members and thanked them for their dedication.
“Mr Iaria has always been a happy man who loved his job, was kind and fair to his fellow co-workers and took pride in serving the community,” he said.
“Mr Giles was always ready to help out whenever he could, nothing was too much trouble for him. In fact years ago, he planted an orange tree in the Greenough Shire yard, took care of it and made sure its produce was shared amongst all the staff.
“I’d like to thank both men for their service to our community and congratulate them on amazing careers they spent making our City a better place to live. They will be missed by all.”
Although Mr Iaria said he had no plans of slowing down in retirement, Mr Giles said he would miss his work colleagues.
“Even though I will no longer work at the City, I still plan to work a bit around town and will be helping my brother with his market garden because the day you stop, you die,” Mr Iaria said.
“I’m really going to miss the guys I worked with every day so I plan to visit them regularly and catch up on what’s going on,” Mr Giles said.
Mr Iaria is looking forward to spending more time with his wife Angie of 49 years, three children and three grandchildren whilst Mr Giles is pleased to have more time to be with his three children and six grandchildren, some of whom live interstate.