If there’s one thing that brings us back to ‘why did we swap life as we knew it to run a salvage yard?’ it is due to the broad cross section of people that we meet! Like any other folk that run small business will understand, it can sometimes be that hard bitten feeling to ‘keep on moving’… there is often little time to relax or reflect, or just be comfortable to ‘chat’ when there are jobs to be done … being constantly responsible for your own actions! I know that Mat and I have a reputation for constantly being ‘on the go’… which is why I love the quiet mornings to negate my own reputation, when I feel ok about stopping to listen to somebody’s story. I always ask ‘what are you building’… and sometimes… often… really incredible stories unfold!
This morning I re met Gunter Leibl. I havn’t seen Gunter for a couple of years when he purchased some clip lock and framing timber… not a very sensational or memorable sale… but utilitarian! He brought us in some printed and laminated pictures of his remarkable wee building project… a model of the Mitchell’s creek gold mine near Dubbo? In a tiny cliplock hut in the Victorian Goldfields? This, I did think was a bit random… but then I started asking Gunter a few questions!
Gunter was a draftsman, fitter and turner, foreman for the construction of Collins Place (Melbourne)… he worked for 19 years at Thompsons’ foundry (hence his passion for cast gold mine fittings… Thompsons provided every piece of steel work for the Mitchell’s creek mine… and Gunter drafted the first plans for the mine… aha!)
He also explained that electricity was first brought to Castlemaine in 1905 – 06 due to the fact that Thompsons foundry purchased a generator, from Siemens and Halske in Munich to enable them to power lighting, to extend their working hours!
And as Gunter was leaving, he turned and said ‘I also should not have lived beyond 8 years of age’. As this afterthought was elaborated, I learnt that Gunter was only one of five children in his class of 40 that survived the horrific ‘unloading’ of departing British/US bombs upon the city of Dresden in February 1945!
He was very happy that the sun was shining today as he left with his rusty storage bucket and 40 bricks (although he did tell me there were storms on the way!)… and I felt incredibly fortunate to work in this place!! Thankyou Gunter!