Senior Construction Overseer, MSC Leader
John commenced work with the FCV at Heyfield in 1952 as a crew member/labourer, and he then worked for a number of years as a bulldozer operator constructing firebreaks in the remote high country north of Licola. He advanced to the position of Ganger–Leading Hand in the late 1950s. Although he had no formal qualifications in engineering he became a Senior Construction Overseer, the youngest in the FCV at the time.
As John had amassed a vast knowledge of forestry skills, he was used in a variety of major construction projects including the Tamboritha, Moroka and Howitt roads north of Licola, construction of fire lookout towers, sewerage, plumbing and drainage connections at the Mt Buller and Mt Baw Baw resorts, roads, tracks and buildings at Wilsons Promontory NP, and numerous bridge and other construction projects throughout the state.
His knowledge and expertise as a firefighter gained him the highest respect among his contemporaries. He was officer in charge of the Heyfield Mobile Support Crew based at Connors Plains for eight fire seasons. His management of personnel and resources in fire suppression and his willingness to train staff in all tasks associated with firefighting, was recognised when he received the National Medal in 1991 for his services to the Department.
After a break in service between 1978 and 1983, John returned to the Department ( then CFL) and worked in the Yarram and Alexandra Regions before returning to Gippsland Region in 1991 and retirement in 1993.