HISTORY was rolled out at Norske Skog early on Thursday with the very last jumbo reel of newsprint coming off the line after 38 years of production at the Ettamogah mill.
The gigantic roll, which would have extended 53 kilometres or just beyond the distance of Albury to Culcairn if it was unfurled, left the paper machine about 6.30am.
The mill's general manager Milo Foster said it was an emotional day for staff who posed for commemorative photographs with the last roll.
Part of the roll will be used for printing of Friday's Border Mail newspaper.
"After so many years people are sad and I know that most people would rather the mill continue on, but at the same time the mill has got a very proud history and the people that are here today are welcoming the opportunity to celebrate that," Mr Foster said.
"There's been a lot of planning that has gone into today and we've managed to use up every log, chip and bit of loose paper available on the site before we shutdown this morning at about 6.30 and made the last roll."
Workers wrote "8,063,145 T" on the side of the roll, the figure representing the exact tonnage of newsprint to have been made at the plant.
Laid end-to-end that paper would equate to 161 return trips to the moon or 3094 orbits of the world.
Overseeing the final reel was product support manager Stephen Cox, whose late father Alan was a mechanical engineer involved in establishing the factory that was originally known as Australian Newsprint Mills.
"Having my father being a part of the construction and setting this all up to start with, I'm shutting the door on what he created," Mr Cox said.
"It's quite emotional, however life brings different twists and quirks and I've had a wonderful experience with this business."
Mr Cox has worked at Ettamogah for 16 years, having been in the industry for 36 years.
The majority of the staff, about 120 who are on an enterprise bargaining agreement, will finish on December 20.
About 40 will remain to clean up the site for its handover to Visy from March 31.
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