Ron Douglas Carey is the son of James and Mary Carey. After he completed Grade 7 and passed his QC he worked on various farms milking cows and dipping and crutching sheep. He moved to Adelaide when he was 16 years of age, lived at Hackney and began work at Pope Products as a planning clerk.
At 18 he was called to active duty. He served in the army and was promoted to corporate and later sergeant. He served in Tarahan, Boreno and at the end of the War worked in Manila to help with the repatriation of POW's. He collected evidence against War criminals and stayed in the US camp.
After he returned home from the War he worked on farms shearing sheds. He later worked at Harris Scarfs for 18 months as a shop assistant in the Builders Hardware Section. Ron had put his name down to learn to be a tailor under the Commonwealth Reconstruction and Training Scheme (CRTS). It was his wife Irene nee Hanson who encouraged him to change his mind and put his name down for carpentry and joinery.
He started in 1949 and spent 9 months at Trade School and 3 years with a builder to complete his apprenticeship in 1952. He worked for Bill Coe for another 10 years.
Go to Ron Carey's Eulogy
Nothing seems to worry Ron Carey, The Manager of the Netley Workshop. He's been called the catalyst for other people's problems. He's always helpful, gets the jobs out on time and when he was interviewed for Perspective he seems to want to give all the credit to others
Ron has been a carpenter all his life. On leaving school, he worked for a small builder in Adelaide before joining the AIF. He served on Moratai and, at the end of the war, went to Manila to help with the repatriation of POW's. He came out of the army as a sergeant after four year's service.
In 1959 he started with Public Buildings as a carpenter-joiner in the Netley workshop, and became a leading hand and then foreman. Five years later he was promoted to superintendent of the Carpenter- Joiner Shop and finally Manager of the4 shops. These include The Mill, Carpenter-Joiner Shop, Structural Steel and Sheet Metal.
The Joinery Workshop at Netley is a shorthand sort of title because it also employs machinists, painters, polishers upholsterers and signwriters as well as apprentices.
"We provide",says Ron, "a total service to all Government departments, all Public Buildings districts, schools, hospitals etc.
"These days only 40 per cent of our work is production or quantity work while 60 per cent is devoted to jobbing or special work."
Examples of production work are runs of school desks and other class room furniture. Examples of jobbing work cover anything from specially built-in cupboards and the circular counters in the State Administration Centre to office furniture for the Industrial Court in the IMFC Building, the Tourist Bureau and Woods and Forests Department.
"All our designs come from Auxiliary Services and Works Branch. We may make a prototype here but we do not necessarily produce the final job. It could go to an outside firm since private enterprise has the opportunity to tender for it.
"Now we also do a lot of restoration, refurnishing and copying of antique furniture and fittings. People in the workshop take a deal of pride in this."
One recent job they were particularly proud of was the staircase in the Constitutional Museum which they made and installed on site.
"We like to encourage our own architects and design people to visit the workshop and see the skills available there.
"We have a polish shop where we do hand rubbing and colour matching. We're putting on an apprentice polisher this year.
"We're rather proud of our new girl signwriter, Kerry Smith. "
He's rather proud of just about everything and everybody in the Workshop and points out that 19 of them have had over 20 years service including Charlie Cullen, Jack Laxton and George McMahnn.
"George Mulcahy, the previous superintendent, ha been at the Workshop for 49 years and apprentic training was introduced in George's time.
"It's a four year course, used to be five. About eigh apprentices have come back to work here. Peter Gi looks after installation. Wayne Paech and Anthon Cauchi are estimators. Michael Bird is one of th' leading hands. They're all ex-apprentices."
Pinned to another wall is an impressive collection c letters from client departments thanking the Workshol for the jobs done for them. Two of them can serve a: examples here both as appreciation of their work an of the remarkable variety of it.
The first is a letter from the State Library dated July 1977, thanking them for fittihg out an ex-MTT bus as mobile library. Evidently there was a lot of effort put into it above and beyond the briefing because the write thanks them for a "great deal of assistance rendered" and realises that "a lot of the work requirer improvisation, sometimes at short notice."
The second example is a letter from Flinders Medic Centre dated March, 1979. This thanks them for th furniture for the chapel which included "altar, lecter baptismal font, pews, tables, all beautifully made."
Adds the writer: "The special care and attention to detail taken during their manufacture is evident in th high quality result that has been achieved"