Driving twenty times a week between Charters Towers and the Pajingo gold mine to the south-east means a large portion of Mark Royes’s time is spent behind the wheel of an L&F Mine Transfers’ coach.
Mark, 57, lives in Charters Towers and describes his role as a bus driver and fitter at the L&F depot in the north-western Queensland town, about 130km inland from the large northern city of Townsville.
Five days a week, Mark is up before the sun in order to take charge of L&F Mine Transfers’ 4.30am service to Pajingo.
Pajingo lies around 55km south-east of Charters Towers so Mark drives south out of town along the Gregory Developmental Road for about 30km before turning left towards the mine, which is serviced by its own 20km access road. First mined in 1986 and owned since 2011 by Evolution Mining, Pajingo produces gold and silver.
Mark turns his 50-seat Volvo bus around for the return journey from the mine and his early morning trip pulls up back in Charters Towers at about 8.30am. The whole round trip is then repeated between 4pm and 8pm, Monday to Friday.
The Pajingo service means Mark notches up over 1000km in the Volvo each and every week – before he gets going on the other components of his role, his since he joined the company about eight months ago.
He says the job allows him to mix with people, which he enjoys, and he also appreciates the “good work conditions” provided by L&F in Charters Towers.
During a varied week, Mark carries out any necessary repairs and servicing and completes weekly checks on four buses. He also organises drivers’ shifts and drivers for work outside the normal service contracts and carries responsibility for the important task of training and inducting new drivers.
More recently, he has spent time in discussions with another Charters Towers-based staff member and manager of L&F Tourism Jodie Crane, on aspects of a brand new and very exciting tourism venture starting now in Charters Towers but expected to grow quickly in scope and expand over a much wider area.
He likes his job – but Mark Royes also likes his days of rest, which see him spending time with his family and their pets and keeping the garden in perfect shape.
Mark is a valued member of the team that makes L&F Mine Transfers one of Australia’s leading road passenger transport providers. And as L&F continues to move forward, Mark Royes is one of those driving its progress – starting at 4.30 each Monday morning.