8 May 2023
It only takes a few minutes chatting with David Auchterlonie to understand why he is such a respected and long-serving member of the Tahmoor Coal Community Consultative Committee.
David, more commonly known as ‘Ock’, was honoured recently with a tribute dinner to recognise his 28 years of continuous service on the committee that serves as a vital conduit between the Tahmoor coal mine and the community.
A down-to-earth Bargo local, David is supremely modest but talks with warmth and affection about his time on the committee. There is also an understated sense of pride about the achievements and role the committee has played in the nearly three decades he has served as a valued and active member.
As an elected member of the Wollondilly Shire Council, David started on the committee 28 years ago as the council’s representative. After eight years as a councillor on the committee he then served for another 20 years as a community representative.
“I think I was just able to talk to people and answer any questions or concerns they had about the mine activities,” David said.
“A lot of people know me from time as a councillor, from my produce store in Bargo, my work on the Bargo Sports Club committee and 15 years working for Mitre 10 in Picton.
“The committee is an important link between the mine and the community and, as such, people were able to put a name to a face of those serving members and find out what they need to know.”
Tahmoor Coal Executive General Manager, Peter Vale has been around the business for all of David’s 28 years and paid a warm tribute to the community icon as he steps down from the committee.
“David has been an integral link between the mine and the community for almost 3 decades.
“He always conducted himself courteously and with integrity regardless of the subject, and he has been extremely important to us as we strived to maintain our links with the people of the local area.
“On behalf of the company and the mine I would like to acknowledge and thank David for his dedication to the Committee and the community.”
David was chuffed to be acknowledged with the dinner where he cut a celebratory 28-year service cake.
“It was an honour to have the dinner, there aren’t many people left at the mine from when I started on the committee but I have always got on well with those I’ve dealt with over the years … they become like family,” David said.
“Not everyone knows who works at the mine but a lot of people know people like me on the committee, so we can be the public face and make a real difference for the mine and our community.”