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After 53 years, Charles retires

Friday, 3rd December, 2010

Charles Johns has retired after working for 53 years at the hospital Charles Johns has retired after working for 53 years at the hospital

In his 53 years of working at the hopistal, Charles Johns has seen many changes.

Mr Johns began work at the age of 17 in 1957 in the pathology laboratory. 

His workplace was relocated a number of times. About 13 years ago the Pathology Department was privatised and Mr Johns opted to stay with the hospital.

He took up the role of Project Officer reporting directly to the CEO of the former Far West Area Health Service.

Mr Johns went on to work on numerous projects including waste management, communications and assets management and was eventually appointed to the committee for the building of the new hospital.

He then took on a job in Clinical Services in the Greater Western Area Health Service which included at one stage helping co-ordinate funding from the Federal Government to give to nongovernment organisations such as the Flying Doctor and Lifeline.

He then transferred back to the hospital and worked in Medical Records until his retirement.

"Throughout my career I have been lucky to be presented with opportunities within the one organisation and hence I have been able to adapt to those changes relatively easy," said Mr Johns.

"I also found that there was always someone, somewhere, to give you a hand if you needed help or a point in the right direction."

Mr Johns said a couple of things stood out in his time at the hospital. "When we converted to a new telephone system years ago I named the new Emergency number 77 after 77 Sunset Strip, a TV series sometime in the distant past," he said.

"When we were building the new hospital the budget for the project was very tight. "One idea was to not build a cool room for hazardous waste ... I did a lot of homework and a put a very strong case for its necessity.

"Eventually it was passed and is there today." Mr Johns said he can remember helping his first boss, the late Ken Dansie, inject guinea pigs with people's sputum, which is the mucus and other matter brought up from the lungs, bronchi, and trachea. 

After this Mr Johns would then perform an autopsy to see if the guinea pigs had TB. He said he saw technology change from test tubes to modern automated machines.

Mr Johns said he had decided to retire because of age. "I've been thinking about it for a long time and I am quite happy to work on but I can see there is life after work."

Mr Johns and his wife are now making plans after his last day today to travel overseas and visit his children and grandchild.

"We're going to travel ... we've done some travelling but I'm getting pamphlets thrown at me," he said. "We are also new grandparents and both our children live in Adelaide so we'll go down there quite often."

Mr Johns thanked all past and present staff for their support and wished them all the best for the future.

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