Club’s handyman welding, fixing machinery for love not money
RETIRED mechanic Alan Svensson spends most days fixing machinery at the Lockyer Valley Turf Club – but he doesn’t want a cent.
Working the equivalent of a part-time job, the 78-year-old is one of thousands of volunteers who help keep Australian organisations ticking along.
Mr Svensson has been volunteering at the turf club for about four years, along with numerous others who do everything from mowing lawns to steering the committee.
Mr Svensson, who spent 52 years living in Brisbane before retiring back to Gatton, began helping out at the track because of his wife’s horseracing connections.
While he admits to knowing very little about racing and betting, he does have a lifetime of knowledge about motor mechanics, having run servos and workshops in Brisbane.
Most mornings he’s at the turf club for three to four hours, fixing mowers and slashers, servicing tractors or welding.
“It’s just a pleasure to get out there and help them out and mix with people instead of going to the pub to do that,” he said.
“It’s a bit of exercise for an old bloke like me.
“I wouldn’t want to be sitting at home and doing nothing.”
Mr Svensson started his mechanic apprenticeship in 1956, before moving to Brisbane, getting married and returning to Gatton.
Mr Svennson is often joined by John Tillack at the track.
Mr Tillack started volunteering at the turf club three years ago, following an interest in race horses.
“We used to work together many years ago at Agricultural Requirements,” Mr Tillack said.
President Terry Kirkwood said the turf club had only two part-time paid employees and everyone else gave freely of their time.
“The committee really appreciates what our volunteers do for us,” Mr Kirkwood said.
“It’s our volunteers who repair the track, mow the grass, look after the grandstand.
“They come in for a couple of hours and help out and get some fresh air.”
With no spectators allowed at races because of COVID-19 gathering restrictions, the volunteers have been keeping the track and grounds in top shape for the future return of punters.
Articles contributed today by Kat Donaghey were supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.