Mem­o­ries of a great mate

Jim Hur­ley pays trib­ute to his friend

Big Rigs - - NEWS - Kirstin Payne kirstin.payne@bi­

JIM Hur­ley’s eyes search the hori­zon as he speaks, his face con­sumed with nos­tal­gia, re­call­ing the mem­o­ries he shared with his good mate Roy.

It has been only a few months since Roy Crotty, Brown and Hur­ley’s first ever em­ployee passed away.

As one of the best known names in Aus­tralian truck­ing and the man who spent his whole work­ing life with Roy, Jim was keen to en­sure his friend was re­mem­bered.

“But just the qual­ity of the man,” Jim said.

“If some­one was do­ing it tough and they had their credit stopped, Roy would work on their ve­hi­cles in his own time, so the labour wasn’t charged out un­til they got back on their feet,” he said.

“That was just the qual­ity of the man.”

In 1946 Roy first came to Brown and Hur­ley. As the orig­i­nal em­ployee of the Aus­tralian truck­ing in­sti­tu­tion he worked as the ser­vice man­ager for close to half a cen­tury.

“My dad and Alan Brown had linked up as friends dur­ing their time in the army. Af­ter my dad was dis­charged, the busi­ness be­gan,” Jim ex­plained.

Roy then joined as an ap­pren­tice when the busi­ness was still just a push-bike shopfront in Kyo­gle.

“He was 16, maybe 15 at the time,” Jim said.

Just a few years later, Roy be­came some­what of an older brother fig­ure to Jim grow­ing up, and showed him the ropes around the Brown and Hur­ley work­shop.

“I started an ap­pren­tice­ship there at 16 when he was prob­a­bly in his late 20s at that stage,” Jim said.

“We be­came very good friends, and also close fam­ily friends.

“He taught me ev­ery­thing I know, but he didn’t teach me ev­ery­thing he knew,” Jim laughed.

But their friend­ship wasn’t re­stricted to the work­ing week.

Af­ter all, as coun­try boys from north­ern NSW, they knew how to get up to some mis­chief.

“It was my buck’s night and we were hav­ing a few drinks, and we were prob­a­bly hav­ing a race back home,” Jim said.

“He had turned his car lights out so I couldn’t see where he was.

“But as I came around the cor­ner here was a big hole in the lan­tana bush,” he said.

“They were stuck, they couldn’t open the doors be­cause they were in so deep with the un­der­growth. We even­tu­ally had to pull them out with the tow truck.

“That was the night be­fore my wed­ding,” Jim added with a grin.

But it was Roy’s rep­u­ta­tion as a kind and gen­er­ous man that fol­lowed the Kyo­gle lo­cal through­out his life.

In 1993 he re­tired and re­mained in Kyo­gle, still heav­ily in­volved in the community.

“He kept all of the gear at the golf club run­ning. Any­one who needed help was al­ways there but he would never seek recog­ni­tion for it,” Jim said.

“He was made the pa­tron and life mem­ber of the golf club.

But was he any good at the game?

“Not much,” Jim said with a grin.

De­spite his re­tire­ment Roy couldn’t be pulled away from his love of truck­ing.

In­stead he fre­quented the work­shop, work­ing with Jim on restora­tions of his­toric pieces right up un­til his death in Novem­ber last year.

But Roy’s most im­por­tant project ac­cord­ing to Jim was his fam­ily and his mar­riage with lo­cal Kyo­gle girl Narelle Crotty.

“She was a Kyo­gle girl as well. They had eight chil­dren to­gether,” he said.

On the day of Roy’s fu­neral, the community ral­lied with a guard of hon­our form­ing out­side both the golf club and Brown and Hur­ley, with a truck he re­stored lead­ing the pro­ces­sion.

“My old dad used to say that those early em­ploy­ees were the mor­tar that held the bricks to­gether – that was Roy,” Jim said.

“He is a big part of Kyo­gle and Brown and Hur­ley his­tory, what started it all,” he said.


RE­MEM­BER­ING THE MAN: Roy Crotty, Al­lan Mclean and Jim (JJ) Hur­ley with the WC22 White they re­stored to­gether.

LEY­LAND SU­PER HIPPO: The first sold by the busi­ness, re­stored by Roy and named af­ter him.


Roy Crotty and Jim Hur­ley work to­gether on a restora­tion.


Jim (JJ) Hur­ley of Brown and Hur­ley

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