Frank fit to print for 40 years and more

Border Mail Printing general manager Damian Balkin, Frank O’Grady and Fairfax’s Bob Lockley at work. Picture: TARA GOONAN

Border Mail Printing general manager Damian Balkin, Frank O’Grady and Fairfax’s Bob Lockley at work. Picture: TARA GOONAN

AN advertisement in a newspaper window in 1969 led Frank O’Grady to a life gorged in ink.

After finishing school at Wangaratta Technical College, Mr O’Grady was due to start an apprenticeship as an electrician.

But one fateful day he walked past the Wangaratta Chronicle office and saw a sign for an apprentice printer.

“Jobs were plentiful and I was thinking about being an electrician, an engineer or a train driver,” Mr O’Grady said.

“I thought printer sounded fancy — it was quite prestigious to work for a newspaper.

“All the manager asked was how soon could I start, I told him Monday, and I have worked in newspapers ever since.”

His passion for printing led to 40 years of service with The Border Mail.

After a five-year apprenticeship at Wangaratta, he moved to The Border Mail in 1974 as a press operator.

His first shift on Sunday, August 18 started at 10pm and he worked night shift for many years.

He has been operations manager for Fairfax Media Print and Distribution Albury Wod onga since 2002 and has had his hands in the ink at every stage of the operation.

“People say I have ink in my veins rather than blood,” he said.

“Sometimes I look at the press and think about what I have done in the industry from starting on manual presses through to the new electronic presses of today.”

He has overseen the commissioning and upgrade of four presses, included moving The Border Mail printing from Albury to Wodonga in 1999.

He has been a key in keeping The Border Mail at the cutting edge of the industry, inventing processes as the paper moved from black-and-white to full colour printing.

Fairfax Media print and distribution general manager Damian Balkin said Mr O’Grady had made a significant contribution to the industry.

“Frank is very well regarded and is a true treasure,” he said.

“He is not just a printer he is a craftsman.

“Today’s press, a Goss Uniliner S was the first of its type to operate anywhere in the world.

“Frank developed it for a year with the French company that made it.

“If another printing operation anywhere in the world was looking at purchasing one they were sent here as The Border Mail was the showroom.”

Mr O’Grady said he had no intentions of retiring anytime soon.

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