The theme of 'local boy (or girl) makes good' is always a popular topic in local newspapers but there was one that passed us by until our attention was drawn to recent financial press highlights.
And the 'local' element is all the more significant in this case where a world leader in the steel industry came from a town where Australia's steel industry was born.
Put all that together and you have Mark Vassella, managing director and chief executive officer of Bluescope, Australia's leading steelmaker. These days a major player in the industry around the world, Mark was born in Lithgow into a family with industry links, the son of Barry and Myrna Vassella.
His paternal grandfather Jim Vassella was the manager of Lithgow Valley Colliery. His other grandfather was Roy Smyth whose Main Street pastry cook business was local byword in a past era.
The family moved to the so called 'little Lithgow' of Caves Beach when Mark was a small child. Fast forward a few years and public schooling was followed by university degrees in Business and Commerce and a first job as a clerk at BHP's Newcastle steelworks rod mill.
Then came the rise through the executive ranks with Smorgon Steel and finally Bluescope in America and Asia and today's high pressure corporate world back in Australia.
Proud mum Myrna told the column that despite his stellar career her son is 'still the same boy with no airs and graces''. Back in Lithgow Mark is the nephew of Ken and Jan Vassella.
A hot time in the burbs
WITH the place expanding faster than a COVID virus, it's interesting to note during the week an impending ban on dark coloured roofing materials in new housing developments in Sydney's west in a bid to reduce extreme heat factors in Summer. It's an area where famously some houses are crammed so close together on tiny blocks that there's not enough breezeway for air conditioners to properly function. Might be some overdue relief there, albeit too late, with a new requirement that blocks have to be big enough for a backyard tree. There goes the Hills Hoist!
A pleasing start
A bitumen seal over the car park and a few dabs of paint to brighten up a previously drab exterior have boosted the amenity of the Valley Plaza shopping centre in Lithgow no end. Now if they can get a trailer load of woodchip or some shrubs for that embarrassing sewer pit section near the main entrance things will really be looking up.
The side door to sin
THE girls in town had it good back in the Roaring 20s in Lithgow. A 'back to Lithgow' publication from 1927 has an advertisement for Frank Finnan's Wine Cafe (purveyor of high class wines) which boasted a 'special private entrance bottle department for ladies''.
Yep, wouldn't do to be seen sneaking out with the cooking sherry. On offer temptations like 'sixpence (five cents) a glass for French or Italian cocktails'. Frank's place was probably the later wine saloon demolished years ago to make way for Pioneer Park at the top end of Main Street.