When the Stawell Gold Mine closed in December 2016, it had a devastating impact on the 150 people who were made redundant just two weeks out from Christmas.
All of a sudden, people who had worked there for years on end were forced to find new work to stay afloat.
Now the mine is back up and running, many of those workers who lost jobs two years ago are back and as happy as ever. Trevor Goode and Andy Wright are among those who are back for a second stint in Stawell.
“I don’t think anyone saw it coming, we were shocked when we rocked up and the gates were closed,” Mr Wright said.
“The timing right before Christmas had a huge impact on families and lifestyles too.”
Mr Goode and Mr Wright had worked at the mine for 10 and eight years respectively at the time it went into care and maintenance.
Mr Goode has been a Stawell resident for the last 25 years and said he saw the impact the closure had on the mine first-hand.
“When it happened it didn't come as a shock to see the smaller follow ons, you could see people weren’t as busy,” he said.
Having been involved in the mining industry for such a long time, they said it was a “shock to the system” to go out and try to find other work.
Mr Goode didn’t get a full-time job but tried his hand at farmwork to keep his income steady, while Mr Wright tried to stay within the mining industry.
“It was hard because if you wanted to chase mining there aren’t a lot of specialised jobs around here or Victoria,” Ararat-based Mr Wright said.
I would have walked over red hot coals to come backAndy Wright
“I had to go with fly-in and fly-out work which was really hard. The two weeks you are away drag on and by the time you get home you’re so wrecked you can’t really make the most of the time you have got.”
Despite having been made redundant at the mine, both men shared the view they were happy to come back should it get back up and running – and that is exactly what they did.
“I was getting sick of the fly-in, fly-out so I got a job at AME Systems in Ararat, but was always keeping an eye out to see what was happening with the mine,” Mr Wright said.
“I would have walked over red hot coals to come back. As soon as I heard they were hiring again I started making phone calls to see what was going on, I have been back for about six months now.”
Mr Goode was slightly more tentative about returning but equally as excited.
“I started in October this year, so I never applied early on,” he said.
“I wanted to wait and see what was happening and when I heard things were ramping up that put the sealer on it that I wanted to come back.”
Both Mr Wright and Mr Goode hold high hopes for the future of the mine.
“Generally there is quite a lot of positivity around. There is pretty much a brand new fleet of machinery and there is plenty of money being spent around the joint,” Mr Wright said.
“It is all looking really good, so fingers crossed.”