Ron Fuss, started as a “paste boy” in the Government Printing Office Bindery in 1938. Such young blokes had swept the front footpath, run messages and fetched lunch orders at the “Guv” since 1860.
Ron was given a seven year apprenticeship in hand and machine composition.
He was a fit young man our Ron and he beat out the entire field to win the prestigious Office Handicap in 1940.
At work he “watched” the tradesmen go about their work, got clipped behind the ear if he made a mistake and helped the storeman raise the Aussie Flag by clambering through the skylight to the top of the Old Guv’s roof.
Then they would take time out to watch the cricket being played down on the Adelaide Oval.
When the Second World War broke out Ron joined the Navy and went to sea on the “Manoora” landing troops on islands in the Pacific.
Ron rarely spoke about the war, but he did tell me that whilst working as a medic in the sick bay he looked down at a young soldier dying in front of him and realised it was a friend from the Printers’ Trade School in Adelaide. He was devastated.
He returned to the Guv to finish his time and was transferred into the complex world of the Monotype Keyboard Room where he worked with a bunch of blokes who thought they were a cut above most of the Guv’s comps.
Photo: They even had their very own exclusive Annual Christmas party. Ron Fuss is in the back row, extreme Right (note the moustache).
Although a Sturt Barracker Ron would often go and watch his workin mate Bernie Smith, the West Adelaide and later Geelong Champion play footy on a Saturday arvo.
He left the Guv in 1954 to work at The Advertiser to earn an extra quid but was soon back when shift work began interfering in family life with Brenda and sons Mike and Warren.
Ron served as the Guv’s rep. on the Printing Union’s Branch Board of Management and was also President of the Government Printing Office Association.
In December, 1961 Ron was elected as the Union’s Assistant Secretary/Organiser in what he later described as a “Melbourne Cup field”.
Ron was elected as the State Secretary of the Union in August, 1976, until his retirement in July, 1982. He was a continuous member of the PKIU and then the AMWU from 1946 onwards.
My first memory of “Fussy” was at the Rechabite Chambers in 1970 when around the corner first an immaculate moustache, mutton chop sideburns and glasses. It was Ron.
He proved to be an excellent official and a caring and protective boss to his loyal office staff, Fiona, Sue and Lina at the Carrington Street Office.
One day I invited these attractive women out for Lunch but omitted to tell Ron. He felt betrayed and gave me a right bollocking for interfering with “his girls”.
From that day on I was frightened to even look at them.
As a Union negotiator he was second to none always carefully preparing a logical argument in support of a union claim. He always kept the discussions on track and made meticulous notes in his beautiful script handwriting.
He negotiated some outstanding agreements, including a groundbreaking model Employee Assistance Program at the Guv.
At our Christmas breakups in Carrington Street he and Brenda would be wonderful hosts to the Union delegates.
He also took great pleasure in attending the Annual Veterans Social at the Union Hotel where he could mix with old friends from the trade.
Later in his retired years he became a close friend and together with Sue Thomas we would spend some pleasant times over lunch.
Ron had a quiet sense of humour and would often tell stories about his Old Guv workmates, being very careful not to be over critical of them and all without uttering one swear word.
I will miss Ron Fuss dreadfully, his friendship, his humanity, his caring advice and his love for the great trade of Printing.
He was an Old Guv Legend and will never be forgotten.