Tim, Jenny and Leah Salomon
Melbourne had The Sullivans, Ipswich has the Salomons.
The long-running Australian drama series, The Sullivans, featured stories of an average middle-class family set after the Second World War.
Ipswich’s Salomons could easily star in their own series, with stories of an average middle-class family who have worked at council for almost 50 years.
The Salomon siblings work in various roles – at one point there were five of them employed by council.
Jenny Salomon is the eldest, Leah next and Tim is the youngest.
Jenny is a Finance and Corporate Services business analyst and has been with council for 46 years.
Leah Salomon is Planning and Development Department administration officer for the past 11 years.
Tim Salomon is in Infrastructure Services Department and works as a senior technical offer (traffic) and has been with council for the past 32 years.
Working at council is a family affair and at one point Jenny’s son, Damien, worked in the library and Tim’s wife Kirsty worked in Works Parks and Recreation.
The Salomons were all born in Ipswich and have lived here all their lives.
“Invariably people say ‘oh Salomon… are you related to..’ before they even finish I just say – yes, because there’s not that many others around,” Tim said.
Jenny points out they are a family of stayers.
“I have no intention of going anywhere else. All of our family and friends are here. Why would I go anywhere else,” she said.
Tim also feels a strong connection to the city.
“People who chuck off at Ipswich really annoy me to be honest. There is nothing wrong with it,” he said.
The siblings have seen some dramatic changes in the workplace since they started.
Jenny started straight out of high school in the rates office.
“It was the start of the 70s and everyone wore mini-skirts to work. Once a lady was married and had a baby, they would leave,” she said.
“I was only the second person to have maternity leave in all of council, that was in 1984.
“On top of my work, I was also expected to make tea and coffee for 25 people, memorising how they took their milk and sugar. Now everyone just wanders off to buy coffee. It’s certainly different now.”
Tim remembers his mother bringing him into the rates office when he was a toddler.
“Mum would come in for lunch with Jenny and she would sit me on the counter,” he said.
When Tim applied for his job he remembers his interview as a rather casual affair.
“I turned up in a jeans with a horrible pink Hawaiian shirt with the dolphin on the back. I’d done some shopping beforehand and had to take all the bags in with me,” he said.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, he wasn’t offered the job – at first.
“The guy who got the job decided he would go back to school, so I was second choice,” Tim said.
“The job was for a draftsman and part of the conditions for employment was that I had to complete an associate diploma of civil engineering.
“I had to do three nights a week after work for six years, I hated it.”
Of course it has paid off for Tim and he said he has a very interesting job.
“There is no way I would want to work in Brisbane. Ipswich is like a big country town that is forging ahead in leaps and bounds, but it still has that small town feeling,” Tim said.
The Salomons agree, it’s the people you work with day in and day out that makes the Ipswich City Council a great place to work.
When Leah came on board, she felt the same right away.
“You’re here for so many hours during the day so it’s like a family and you want to have a bit of fun during the day,” Leah said.
“When I started people used to say ‘you have to be Jenny’s sister, you’re nice just like her,” Leah said.
Not that long ago, staying with one organisation was viewed as a prodigious thing to aspire to.
Tim recalls his first day on the job.
“I remember the security guard on the door was just about to retire. He slapped me on the back as I walked in and said ‘you’ve only got 50 years to go young fella,” Tim said.
“Some people think if you stay at one place for a long time, you are not ambitious. But I think if you are prepared to dedicate so much of your life to one organisation, I think, hats off to you.
“That is a hell of an effort.”