SIMON Davis saw the writing on the wall early. A mechanic by trade, the career miner took a redundancy in 2016 after Drayton South failed to win approval following a major stoush with the Upper Hunter's thoroughbred horse breeding industry.
In part, his is an old story - and not one unique to the Hunter or mining. "I figured it was time to reinvent myself before everyone else started trying to do the same thing," Mr Davis says.
"A lot of the guys laughed at me and thought I was a dill when I was leaving, but I took the punt, gambled my redundancy and I've never been happier." Gone are the days when workers can look at coal mining and be sure they will be there until retirement.