Celebrating 80 years
KNOWN locally as JJ, John Ballie will today celebrate his 80th birthday.
JJ arrived in Gladstone with his wife Helen and three of their five children in 1972 after the closure of the South Mine in Broken Hill.
The harbour was an exciting change to the desert landscape he had become familiar with.
He started as a shift supervisor in the QAL machine workshop and retired as Master of Apprentices.
"Those were the days," JJ said.
Some 40 years on, he now considers himself a "Gladstonite".
When looking back on the past 80 years, John said he was most proud of his five children, 18 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
He will also be celebrating his birthday tomorrow at a party with family and a few friends.
See Monday's paper for pictures of JJ's birthday party celebrations.