A MECHANIC who has built a Mortlake institution will close the doors on his garage after more than half a century, but hopes it's not the final chapter for the business.
Brian Woolley's father George started the business in 1965, a stone's throw from where Brian and his brothers grew up in Mortlake.
In the early days Brian and his brothers all worked at the Woolley's business, which included a Dunlop Street service station with two fuel browsers.
"There were 35 other pumps in town, now there's eight," Mr Woolley said.
He recalled fixing early model Fords and Holdens when he could easily get behind the dashboard to inspect a part.
"We thought they were hard to work on, they were simple compared to what we work on today. Now they're a lot more advanced, but they're a lot better motorcar," he said.
He said he ran his business using two mottoes: "If you know how it works you know how to fix it. And if you can save your customer a quid, you do".
Once Mr Woolley took over the business in 2004 he sold the service station to Robert Riordan trading as United Fuels.
Mr Woolley and mechanic Kelly Henderson have manned the adjacent garage together ever since, with Kelly also fixing chainsaws, mowers and motorbikes.
"That's turned out to be 60 per cent of our business," Mr Woolley said.
"Kelly walked in off the footpath one day and said 'have you got a job going?' My brother was going away for a holiday and I said you can have three weeks, and that was 30 years ago."
Mr Woolley said the banter with his customers was what he'd miss the most, and fondly recalled the pranks he'd played with staff.
"Jacking their cars up and they couldn't drive away. Putting wire tyres on their tail shafts and the wire tyre would rattle when they drove away. We'd only do it to our mates not our customers," he said.
"I enjoy what I do so it was no effort for me to come to work."
Mr Woolley plans to depart the business at Christmas, and the 73-year-old is hopeful someone will take over the garage.
"It was a bit of a decision to make, but I think I've had a pretty good innings. I'll miss all the banter with people."
"If anyone's willing to have a go , the business is viable.
"It would be a shame to see it disappear, a lot of people would miss it."
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