It was 1986 and 6000 newspaper printers had gone on strike in London.
The "Wapping dispute", one of the biggest political events of the period, was keenly watched by Australian printer Frank O'Grady and very nearly altered his career.
"I had a mate over there who was working as an electrician and they were looking for people to work at Wapping, a big printing plant over there," he said.
"If you were an Australian printer that worked on newspapers, you were fairly highly regarded.
"Many Australian printers got Rupert Murdoch out of trouble - he actually took some over there with him to basically break the British deadlock."
But it was meeting his to-be wife, Anne, that kept the printer in Australia, and 52 years later, Mr O'Grady hasn't looked back.
The long-standing site manager of The Border Mail's printing press, now Newsprinters, admits he was always a "newspaper person".
Mr O'Grady delivered newspapers as a 12-year-old, and although he began training as an electrician after Wangaratta Technical School, was drawn to an advertisement in the Wangaratta Chronicle window.
"I did a five-year apprenticeship in Wangaratta," he said.
"When I first came to The Border Mail in 1974, I was a young fella in the door and was with some fairly senior people.
"I knew a fair bit about newspapers and how to operate the equipment, but there was a lot of troubleshooting.
"I've helped commission four presses."
One of those presses was the first of its kind, commissioned soon after operations moved from Albury to Wodonga in 1999.
The joint development of the Goss Uniliner 'S' press system in 2003 was a significant investment by the Mott family, coinciding with The Border Mail's centenary.
Former Border Mail Printing general manager Damian Balkin, who came to the business one year after the Uniliner S was installed, described Mr O'Grady's role in securing it.
"Frank was instrumental in enabling the development of the press with the French; he had great relationships with the company, Goss, in Nantes, France and went there many times," he said.
"But he also had very strong relationships within the industry in Australia.
"When I came to the business as general manager, some 15 or 16 years ago, Frank was a press manager.
"We got on well, and he really put in ... he did whatever was required."
The Uniliner S helped carry The Border Mail's printing plant into its heyday in the mid-2000s, Mr O'Grady said.
"As we grew, ending up with 400 tonnes of newsprint going through each week, I ended up as operations manager sitting across a couple of departments," he said.
"Around 2004, it was a growing market and we were doing quite a few newspapers out of Melbourne.
"We've always been a bit of a hub and said we would be a back-up for people, and, of course, they were a back-up for us.
"I've been lucky to know quite a few people around Australia and made some good friends.
"I've quite often had young printers ring me and say, 'What do you think? What would you do if it was yours?'
"You couldn't help the opposition, but I didn't take any notice of that. If someone was in trouble, you helped."
When machinery inevitably broke down, Mr O'Grady would often go away and think about the problem - the solution often making itself known in the dead of night.
He only recalls one instance, back in the early days, of missing the inviolable print deadline for the next day's newspaper.
It was during the 1976 strike called by the Australian Council of Trade Unions, opposing planned changes to the Medibank system the Whitlam Labor government had introduced in 1975.
"It was driven by the unions; we didn't have any choice in it," Mr O'Grady said.
"At the the time, we were worried what the repercussions would be for our company.
"We weren't militant - we belonged to a union but weren't militant.
"As a matter of fact, I worked for the trade union movement."
During the 1980s when Mr O'Grady was working night shifts at The Border Mail, he would print course work at the Clyde Cameron College, then the headquarters of the Australian Trade Training Authority.
"I would go over there during the day, and I got to meet a lot of people, like John Halfpenny, Laurie Carmichael and Bob Hawke.
"I had a beer with Bob Hawke, because you don't buy Bob Hawke a beer.
"One of the biggest things I saw there was an arbitration commission hearing that Simon Crean was doing.
"I've always been interested in politics; I follow it closely, to the degree sometimes I'll scream at the television."
The 69-year-old agrees there are common themes between his work for the movement and his long-standing involvement in the Wodonga Ratepayers' Association.
As the son-in-law of the late former mayor Rex Chamberlain, Mr O'Grady had an ear to the ground.
"Sometimes I feel the people of Wodonga are getting a raw deal compared to Albury," he said.
"That's a general feeling and that's the feedback that we get as an association, and I've expressed my views to mayors.
"The Ratepayers' Association has gone into a bit of hiatus because of COVID, but I will continue going along to meetings and to council meetings in my retirement."
Many close to Mr O'Grady thought he might retire when Australian Community Media, the publisher of The Border Mail, shut down printing sites in April, 2020.
But the operations manager, who retained his position throughout the 2006 sale of The Border Mail to Fairfax Media and Australian Community Media's 2019 acquirement of 14 daily titles following the Nine-Fairfax merger, was always going to stick with his team.
McPherson Media Group's purchase of The Border Mail's print centre and adjacent offices in 2020 restarted the 164-year tradition of newspaper printing on the Border.
"I promised Ross McPherson that I would come back after the stand-down and I've done that," Mr O'Grady said.
"Newsprinters is in quite a comfortable position, and I'm comfortable.
"I've got grandkids in South Australia and Queensland I want to see.
"You know when you're ready to leave."
Newsprinters production manager Marcus Kostelac said Mr O'Grady would be missed upon his retirement at the end of the month.
"I have had the privilege of working with Frank for the last 24 years and he has been a great support to many of our current and former employees," he said.
"Under Franks guidance, both old and new press lines won industry quality awards nine times in the last 25 years.
"We will miss Franks printing experience, reliability, attention to quality and enthusiasm for the printing industry.
"We are certain that Frank can look back on his many years in the printing industry with a sense of accomplishment."
Of those accomplishments, Mr Balkin thinks the cooperative and energetic workplace culture Mr O'Grady helped to create was one of his greatest.
"He was basically the glue that kept the print sites going," Mr Balkin said.
"If he needed to, he would roll up his sleeves and be in there working with his boys, who had an enormous respect for his knowledge, capability and passion.
"In the last five to seven years, there's been an enormous amount of print sites shut in Australia, but a stand-out that's still remaining is the one on your site, and it's a stand-out because it's been managed exceptionally well."
The international decline of printing and newspapers has been difficult for Mr O'Grady to watch.
But he is optimistic. Friends in Europe and America are reporting an increase in circulation, with the public returning to traditional sources of information during the pandemic.
"Its been a marvelous career; I was thinking the other day how lucky you can be to get paid for doing something that you like doing," Mr O'Grady said.
"People would often ask, 'What's on the front page of the paper today, Frank?' And I wouldn't be able to tell them.
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"Your concentration wasn't on the headlines, it was to make sure that it was legible, that the colour was right and your speed on the machine was up enough so you could get the newspaper out to the agents.
"You had a crew of trucks waiting and that was your focus.
"Sometimes I wouldn't look at the paper after because I was sick of looking at them."
However, Mr O'Grady is looking forward to many upcoming Saturdays reading the paper over breakfast.
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