Our Peo­ple - Scott McKen­zie

This Satur­day marks Scott McKen­zie’s 35th year at Jamieson River Au­to­mo­tive

Mansfield Courier - - FRONT PAGE -

SCOTT McKen­zie’s story as a mo­tor me­chanic be­gan 44 years ago, when at the age of 16 he took on a role as an ap­pren­tice me­chanic in Mans­field.

A lo­cal me­chanic in town asked if he wanted to learn the ropes and help out his op­er­a­tion.

Scott said yes, and he’s been help­ing peo­ple ever since.

Af­ter earn­ing his stripes work­ing and com­plet­ing his me­chan­i­cal ap­pren­tice­ship in Mans­field, Scott took on a job back closer to home at Jamieson River Au­to­mo­tive, where he as­sisted then owner, Graeme Wil­ley, in the build­ing of the garage.

Scott pur­chased the busi­ness in 1982, and has been the god in the ma­chine of Jamieson ever since, solv­ing lo­cal’s prob­lems and sav­ing them from the mor­tal coil of me­chan­i­cal heartache.

He, many lo­cals will tell you, is Jamieson.

Scott cer­tainly loves his town, and in many ways is like its box­ing trainer, keep­ing Jamieson fit, run­ning on all cylin­ders, and punch­ing above its weight.

And like the best train­ers, he knows his boxer bet­ter than any­one.

When he was just three years old, Scott ar­rived in Jamieson from Tal­lan­gatta with his mother Cyn­thia, fa­ther Ken, and three sib­lings.

The McKen­zies es­tab­lished a dairy farm on a property by the Jamieson River, pro­duc­ing but­ter fat from 90 cows and feed­ing skimmed milk to the pigs.

The dairy farm turned to pro­duc­ing beef cat­tle, and now Scott lives on a slither of the old farm, which means he has been us­ing the same drive­way for 57 years.

At Jamieson River Au­to­mo­tive, Scott will have been putting the key into the door for 35 years this Satur­day.

“At the time I took over the shop, the at­trac­tion was farm equip­ment, and a core part of the busi­ness was sell­ing the Fiat range,” he said.

“Back then, there was a lot more farm­ing around Jamieson, and a lot more work on trac­tors, hay balers and farm equip­ment gen­er­ally.”

Over the years Scott has seen many a brush­cut­ter and lawn­mower in his garage, and cars and boats are still pil­ing up in the re­pair yard.

It doesn’t mat­ter what size, whether it be a brush­cut­ter or a bull­dozer – or any­thing in be­tween – Scott will fix it.

“And that’s ba­si­cally how it’s been all the way through,” he said.

But not quite - in the early 1990s, Scott started do­ing tow truck res­cues and four-wheel drive re­cov­ery.

“The four-wheel drive re­cov­ery be­came a fairly ma­jor part of my life in some re­spect,’ he said.

“Any­thing that’s a bit dif­fi­cult I en­joy, and it all be­comes an­other day at the of­fice.”

The res­cues were an­other job Scott started do­ing be­cause peo­ple needed help.

When peo­ple run off the road, Scott puts them back on, and if there’s a mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent in the area, He will get called in.

With his tow truck he will clear out the ma­chin­ery, and when there are big ac­ci­dents he will be there to as­sist am­bos or help out with what­ever the scene re­quires.

Some­times his sal­vage mis­sions are mul­ti­ple day af­fairs and the res­cues are typ­i­cally staged on haz­ardous moun­tain ter­rain, but you can hear in voice that he rel­ishes the chal­lenge – he is a man with the heart and mind for good old fash­ioned ser­vice.

Af­ter nearly 35 years at Jamieson River Au­to­mo­tive, Jamieson’s fixer is busier than ever and still en­joys get­ting up and go­ing to work.

Un­like the “early” days when he used to have “some days off,” Scott works seven days a week and is on call 24/7 for res­cues, and his wife Jenny, who works full time at Mans­field Sec­ondary Col­lege in ad­min­is­tra­tion and re­cep­tion, is hav­ing a hard time pry­ing the wrench out of his hands.

“I still en­joy the in­ter­ac­tion with peo­ple, if I got tired of that I prob­a­bly wouldn’t get out of bed as quickly, and Jenny wants me to have a life – she thinks that maybe I should start slow­ing down a bit, and start to en­joy the fruits of our labour,” re­flected Scott.

Jenny, who with Scott is a proud par­ent of Stephanie, (a Se­nior Pa­role Of­fi­cer), and Bren­dan, (com­plet­ing his de­gree is Se­cu­rity and Coun­tert­er­ror­ism), wants her hus­band to leave the job with a bit of gas left in the tank.

The prob­lem is that no one else wants him to leave the garage.

THE PEO­PLE’S ME­CHANIC: In 1982 Scott McKen­zie pur­chased Jamieson River Au­to­mo­tive. To­day he is busier than ever, work­ing seven days a week and on call around the clock for res­cue mis­sions.

CIRCA 1986: Scott McKen­zie stands with his first tow truck, an ex-mil­i­tary six wheel drive.

Weekly pro­file on our peo­ple by Courier jour­nal­ist Steve Vi­vian svi­vian@ ne­me­dia.com.au

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