Wodonga's Norm Cook spent nearly 30 years at his city's pet food factory and has a substantial possession to mark his days there.

Good set of wheels: Norm Cook with the HR Holden he bought new in 1967 with the money he made working at Uncle Ben's which opened in the same year. Picture: MARK JESSER
Good set of wheels: Norm Cook with the HR Holden he bought new in 1967 with the money he made working at Uncle Ben's which opened in the same year. Picture: MARK JESSER

NORM Cook has not worked at Wodonga’s pet food factory for more than 20 years, but he has a big reminder of his 28 years of service.

Sitting in the retiree’s garage is a HR Holden which dates from 1967 – the year Mars Petcare’s Wodonga plant started under the Uncle Ben’s banner.

It was also the year Mr Cook’s career began at the dog and cat food maker after switching from the Rocla concrete plant.

“I had a young family and they paid a bit more money which made a big difference,” Mr Cook said.

“I finished at Rocla on the Friday and started at Uncle Ben’s on the Monday.”

With two young boys, it made sense to buy a new car as Mr Cook flourished at an Uncle Ben’s which was right on the western fringe of a Wodonga where the Hume Highway’s route weaved through town.

“We bought this Holden, we bought it from Preston Motors brand new and we went on holidays with it,” Mr Cook said.

“It’s a good car, it still is.

“It wants a bit of work on it now, but it’s treated me well.”

Mr Cook’s first duties included stripping meat and he then progressed to operating different machines on the production line.

By the time he retired in 1995, Mr Cook was undertaking in-house services which included outdoor cleaning and tidying offices.

“They treated me very well, I can’t go crook at them,” Mr Cook said.