Campbelltown Centrelink worker retires after 45 years

Time to relax: Harrington Park's Darrell Preston plans to travel in his motorhome now that he is retired. Picture: Centrelink

Time to relax: Harrington Park's Darrell Preston plans to travel in his motorhome now that he is retired. Picture: Centrelink

These days, staying in one job for 10 years seems rare, but 45 years? That’s practically unheard of.

But Harrington Park’s Darrell Preston notched up that impressive milestone at Campbelltown Centrelink this week – just in time for his retirement.

Mr Preston has worked with the Department of Human Services since 1973, back when it was the Department of Social Security which handled welfare payments.

The new retiree said he still vividly remembered his early days at work.

“I have seen a lot of changes over the decades as technology has changed how we deliver services to the community,” he said. “I still remember my very first day when I started, and my very first pay. Our salary was paid in cash each fortnight and often delivered to your desk.

Long service: Mr Preston worked with the Department of Human Services and Centrelink for 45 years.

Long service: Mr Preston worked with the Department of Human Services and Centrelink for 45 years.

“There were typing pools, tea ladies with food trolleys and machines to lock on and off work each day. Everything was done manually with paperwork, and customers were paid by cheque and in some instances by cash. Now our world is online and computers and electronic banking have modernised the way we work.”

Mr Preston’s job saw him provide finance and corporate support to Centrelink centres across NSW.

He was once the organisation’s ‘pay master’, in charge of payments to staff and customers across the state.

Mr Preston said he loved working at Centrelink.

“I have enjoyed my time with the department and have made many lasting and good friendships along the way,” he said. “One of my career highlights was meeting my wife Sue at work and marrying her back in 1980 – 38 years of marriage is a long-lasting office romance.”

Centrelink national manager Scott Chant thanked Mr Preston for his dedication to the company.

“Darrell has been a valued long-serving member of a team that’s provided behind-the-scenes support for our service delivery operations across NSW,” he said. “Serving the public for 45 years is a significant achievement. Darrell is going to be missed by his colleagues right across the state. We wish Darrell the very best for his retirement and his journey outside of Australian Public Service.”