Forty years is a remarkable amount of time to spend in any workplace so it’s no surprise to hear Townview State School made a big deal of it when Evelyn Arnold passed that milestone at the school on May 16.
Evelyn is the school’s business services manager, one of a variety of roles she has worked in over four decades of faithful service at Townview.
Evelyn still has memories of the time she started back in 1977.
“The first day I think I got lost, the office was upstairs in one of the three main buildings and I ended up in one of the other buildings,” Evelyn said.
It didn’t take long for Evelyn to settle, still a relative newcomer to the city of Mount Isa, moving here here from the United States with her family, though she has lost trace of her American accent.
“We arrived here in 1976 from California, I was only 17,” she said.
The family came from a small town so Mount Isa wasn’t a huge culture shock and she settled into her first job at the school as a clerk typist.
Evelyn said she had no idea what that involved but sat in the front office and did anything that was handed to her and asked to do.
“I stayed in the office but they kept changing the name of the role, from a clerk typist to an admin assistant , to an admin officer and then later business services manager,” she said.
“I don’t mind that, BS manager sounds quite good!”
Evelyn’s humour is so dry you had to be sure she was smiling as she joked about her role.
But there is a serious side to being the “BS manager”.
“I mainly look after the financial side of things,” she said.
“But it’s basically anything – there is two of us in the office and if anything needs to be done, we do it, from reception to working with enrolment.”
Technology has changed a lot in those 40 years.
“I started on a manual typewriter, I remember getting my first electric typewriter and then graduated to the computers,” she said.
And we’ve gone from nobody having telephones to everybody having them.”
Evelyn still loves her job and has no plans to retire.
“No day is ever the same.”