Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort’s longest ever-serving employee Richard Shields with 41 years officially retired on his 62nd birthday, on November 7.
“I’ve seen 11 presidents and I’ve seen six CEOs. The first president was Bill Brear and the six CEOs were Bob Crockett, John Wilson, Trish Halfpenny, Bryan Sinnott, Rob Dick and Richard Hogg,” the popular and respected barman said of his four decades.
“It’s the best job I’ve ever had – the company, the staff, the club itself.”
Best job? Only job? “ I’ve been in the industry since I was 15, starting at the Swinger (Hotel Mulwala) – Mum and Dad leased the pub – two years in pubs then to the golf club at 21,” the man popularly known as ‘Dickie’, who started on March 10, 1977 said.
“You couldn’t get a better place to work. When they put in cabins (the first on-course accommodation, under Bill Brear’s presidency) this was going to be an experiment but it just exploded.
“The club has increased in size four-fold in my time. It’s a magnificent club.”
Club operations manager Peter Savy has enjoyed a long working relationship with Dickie, initially as a fellow barman and since 1988, as the in-charge operations manager.
“Dickie’s always been good,” Mr Savy said. “He’s the one you’d always go to if there was a problem, he was your ‘fix it’ man.
“He had such a knowledge of everything behind the bar - the different beers, all the different drinks. He was great with the young ones. He was brilliant with the one-liners, making everyone have a bit of a giggle.”
Chief Executive Officer of Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort, Richard Hogg, said it was quite rare these days to have someone serve in the one organisation for 41 years.
“It’s sad and good to see Dickie go – he’s put in 41 hard years and has had some health issues. We had a good send off for him and presented him with a gift voucher.
“It’s gold to have people like Dickie working for us and it’s been particularly good for younger staff to learn from Dickie who was very thorough.
“He was robust, versatile and reliable, and is wished all the best in his retirement.”
A keen fisherman, Dickie conveyed sound advice for new, young employees during his time: ‘Do the right thing and they’ll keep you’.
The retiring barman set a fine example for over four decades and can now enjoy a lot more time on the other side of the bar.