Bribbaree's retiring mechanic Maurice Henry started apprenticeship in 1949

Bribbaree mechanic Maurice Henry has sold the garage he's owned since the late 1960s, and will retire at the end of this month.
Bribbaree mechanic Maurice Henry has sold the garage he's owned since the late 1960s, and will retire at the end of this month.

Bribbaree mechanic Maurice Henry will retire this month after about 70 years.

The 84-year-old has worked in the small village near Young for his entire life, inspecting, building and repairing machinery and vehicles while also helping countless amounts of people from across the region as an NRMA roadside assist employee for nearly 40 years.

He's decided to hang the overalls up, however he ensures he'll still be a familiar face in Bribbaree.

With some more time on his hands, he says he'll spend it restoring old furphys, water carts and wagons.

"I got enough of that to keep me going," he said.

Born at Thuddungra, Maurice and his family moved to Bribbaree when he was four-years-old. Despite applying for a number of jobs before leaving school, he ended up beginning a mechanics apprenticeship in 1949.

He worked with various employers before purchasing the garage at the corner of Railway Street and Bribbaree Road during the late 1960s.

He's been there ever since.

As a NRMA roadside assist employee, beginning in 1979, he responded to calls in the Bribbaree, Tubbul, Milvale, Grogan, Quandialla and the Bimbi area.

"I had some experiences out there," he said.

This week he received honourary life membership into the Institute of Engineers.

He holds competency certificates for Meadows Motors, Perkins Motors and a number of international motors, on top of his trade.

He says there's been huge changes since 1949 to now through the introduction of electronics.

"We had an old hoist up there and used to do the work under the hoist. You rebuild anything in those days, we had a forge out the back and you made the parts if you didn't have them," he said.

"All machinery in those days came from America in boxes on crates and you'd assemble it under the railway crane and delivered it to the farmers who had already bought it.

"You had to think for yourself back then, no one thought for you. These days it's all bolt on and off."

He said the town has always been supportive, and he'll remain on the look out for people needing a hand.

The garage has been purchased by a local family who will continue operating a similar service. Maurice wishes them luck.