Mixed emotions: Father, son printers prepare for last shifts
Luke Hansen is grappling with mixed emotions.
He and his dad Drewe will work their last shifts at the News Corp Rockhampton Print Centre on Wednesday.
The presses will roll for the last time on Friday night, 14 years to the day that Luke started his printing apprenticeship at the then Quay St site.
The last print edition of The Morning Bulletin will appear on Saturday as the publication moves to a fully digital model.
Luke, 33, said it was a dramatic change but he considers himself one of the lucky ones, given he will receive a healthy redundancy package.
"I'll be happy and sad in a way," he said.
"It is sad because it is the end of an era and the newspaper was once such a huge industry.
"But I am happy because I feel like the world's at my feet now because of my redundancy; it's like I've won the Lotto.
"I'll leave with some good memories. We've had a lot of fun. You might have come into work feeling a little unhappy but you always walked out with a smile on your face."
Luke said it was incredible knowing he had a hand in delivering the daily news - and in July 2012 he was actually making it when he caught an armed assailant who had robbed a nearby pharmacy.
"The police gave me a lift into work afterwards," he said.
"I told my workmates and they thought it was a joke at first - but then we printed the story."
Luke remembers going to The Morning Bulletin office in Quay St on a school excursion in Year 2. He was also a regular visitor there because Drewe was a good friend of the then production editor.
He got his start in the industry at family-owned printing businesses before the opportunity with APN (now News Corp) opened up.
"When I found out about the job and that it was printing the newspaper, I thought it would be an interesting change," Luke said.
"It was also nightwork, and I've always been a night person.
"I remember my first day was pretty boring because I was just filling out paperwork but day two I was downstairs and into the thick of it."
Several weeks before he completed his four-year apprenticeship, Drewe joined him at Rockhampton after doing stints at both the Bundaberg and Mackay print sites.
"Working with Dad has been great. We're best friends and we can just read each other's minds," he said.
One thing Luke won't miss is the post-shift wash routine to remove all the ink.
"You'd never get it all off, particularly in and around your fingernails," he said.
Luke is unsure what's next but is considering work in the mines. "I don't have to start work immediately but I'm a person who likes to keep busy," he said. "My dad and I make epoxy resin furniture so that could be some more of that in the works. I've got the travel bug but any overseas travel probably won't happen for a year or so because of the coronavirus. I'm thinking I might head north and visit friends in Townsville."
Luke said he would be not feel too sentimental come Friday night. He enjoyed the career that was and is now looking to what's ahead.
"I know that when it ticks up close to midnight on Friday, and that shift is at an end, I will be drinking a toast to all my workmates," he said.