A blacksmith with a heart of gold
With 52 years experience under his tool belt, Dick Sternberg is still playing with fire as the resident blacksmith at Morrissey and Co in Jandowae.
A loyal employee of the small engineering works company, Dick has worked for three generations of the Morrissey family and doesn’t yet have retirement in mind, preferring to ‘keep occupied’ by his trade.
Current owner Sean Morrissey credits Dick’s expertise in his field, comparing him favourably to the younger welders on staff.
“Dick’s genuinely good at his job. He’d still get through twice as much work as any young fella.”
In a tough working environment, this hardy 72-year-old stands daily at a hot furnace melting wrought iron and steel to temperatures that allow it to be hammered into products like cattle brands and crow bars. Although many of the traditional methods used by farriers and wheelwrights are still seen in the workshop, the job has been made slightly easier over the years with advances in tools and technology.
“I used to have to swing a sledgehammer to shape the metal. Things have changed a lot,” Dick said.
As to why he initially entered the blacksmithing industry over another trade like carpentry, Dick reckons the choice was simple.
“Steel’s better than timber. If you make a mistake, you can just weld another bit on.”
Dick Sternberg was recognised as a dedicated and deserving service provider with the Dalby Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Exceptional Service Award. A true gentleman, Dick was incredibly modest about the recognition.
“It was a surprise to me,” he said. And he’s just as humble about being rewarded for his efforts, saying with a laugh, “Well, I’ve been rewarded with more work.”