February 12, 2020
In his long career as an underground coal miner, Keith Timbs earned a reputation for scrupulous workmanship and looking after his workmates.
Keith, father of South Western District Vice President Bob Timbs, began his working life with an apprenticeship at Tallawarra Power Station as a fitter and turner. He left to work in mines in 1971, joining his brother Ian and father Ernie at Wongawilli before heading up to the Burragarong Valley to work at Nattai North. In 1980 he transferred to Tahmoor where he worked for the next 29 years before retiring to spend more time with his wife Wendy and family.
Ian Timbs, who worked alongside Keith at various mines, said his brother was given the nickname ‘Mother’ because of his care and attention to detail.
“When blokes were assigned to work with him it soon became obvious to them as to why he was given this nickname. He always fussed around after them to make sure everybody and everything was just right.
“He spent a lot of his time at Tahmoor installing pipelines. His specialty was the large 450mm gas pipes. When men on the back shifts had to do some of these installations he would come in the next day and check on their work and if it was not up to his standard he said nothing but quietly and efficiently rearranged it until it did and then got on with his own work.”
When Bob followed his father into the coal mining industry, Keith was quick to instill union values in his son.
“He said, ‘the reason we are safe is the union – don’t question what they’re doing, just bloody do it’.”
Keith got along with everyone in the industry – workmates and bosses alike – and no-one ever said a bad word about him, said Bob.
During the early days of his career at Tallawarra power station, Keith was exposed to asbestos on a daily basis, leading to a painful battle with mesothelioma and his death shortly before Christmas.
Our thoughts are with the Timbs family at the loss of a loving family man and dedicated lifelong coal miner. Vale Keith.