Rosewood kid comes full circle – Beekeeper, Orchardist, Miner

28 July 2017

Son of second generation Rosewood dairy farmers, Brett Domrow was apparently destined for a life outside of agriculture after growing up next door to Ipswich’s iconic New Oakleigh coal mine.

Now Chief Mining Engineer at Ipswich’s last surviving coal company, New Hope Group, Brett reflects back on his passion for mining which saw him travel far and wide in pursuit of the little black rock.

"Growing up on the family farm with my parents and my grandparents, me and my younger brothers spent a lot of time running around the property exploring," Brett said.

"When we were little we used to climb up onto one of our hills and watch the mining trucks through binoculars as they drove along the haul roads next door at New Oakleigh.

"Once I started at Rosewood State High, I was given the opportunity to do work experience and visit some of the local mines like Ebenezer and Jeebropilly which sparked my interest even more."

Just before he started high school, Brett’s family farm was bought out by Ipswich miner Ruhle’s and developed as part of New Oakleigh Mine.

New Oakleigh would later go on to be bought out by New Hope where Brett started working as an engineer in 2004.

"When I started working for New Hope it was almost like coming full circle because New Oakleigh was the mine that got me interested in the industry when I was a little boy," Brett said.

"And then there I was, decades later, an experienced mining engineer working for the company who owned the mine where it all began."

After 18 years in mining, Brett is well versed in open cut coal mines but his career began hundreds of kilometres away on the west coast of Australia.

"During the early years of my career I worked over in Western Australia in both open cut and underground nickel mines," Brett said.

"Working FIFO gives you the great opportunity to go to places most people don’t ever get to see but it can be hard living away from home and your family for so long.

"I’ve been with New Hope for 13 years now and I’m really grateful I can work in the resources industry and progress my career while living at home surrounded by family."

"Now days I oversee the mine planning for New Hope’s projects like the New Acland Mine Stage 3 expansion and the North Surat Project near Wandoan."

Currently living in Mutdapilly with his wife Nicole and their three young kids, Brett’s 40 acre home pays homage to his childhood on the farm.

"Growing up my Dad and Grandad use to keep bees, our farm was surrounded by lots of gum trees which were perfect for making honey," Brett said.

"It’s a skill my Dad has passed on to me over the years and now I’ve got three hives of my own, which the kids are interested in too.

"We also have an orchard with about 40 trees and at the moment we’re growing a range of things like peaches, nectarines, grapes and pears."

Outside of work Brett also plays soccer for a local Ipswich club and has acted as coach for some of the junior teams.