SHARE
End of an era . . . Agnew Bros owner Russell Agnew (left) stands with staff members Sharron Caughey and Steve Gouedard in the workshop of the business his family have owned for nearly 70 years which he closed at the end of last month. PHOTO:SANDY EGGLESTON

After almost 50 years working at Edendale’s only garage, Russell Agnew has a few stories to tell.

His father Jim and uncle Jack started the Agnew Bros business in 1951 and Mr Agnew joined the business in 1971.

In 1982 Russell and his wife Judy bought the garage but at the end of last month, he closed the doors for the final time.

Mr Agnew said he had attended a few unusual callouts late at night to help people.

“There used to be a lot of callouts for people locking keys in cars,” he said.

“They would ask you to go all over the place.

“I think the furthest away call I got was Waikaia.

“I didn’t go.”

Two young men who ran out of petrol gave him some trouble after he filled the car with petrol and they refused to pay because they said they had no money.

“They weren’t very polite about it and I wasn’t either.

“We ended up in a situation where it developed into bit of a scrap.”

After a tussle, the men paid Mr Agnew.

“In the finish they did have money.

“I came home with a bleeding nose and a black eye.”

In another incident, a police officer took Mr Agnew and a tin of petrol to a group of young men who were stranded.

Once again no one fronted up to pay for the fuel and the policeman did not seem concerned.

“All he wanted was to get them out of the district.”

Mr Agnew put in a claim for the petrol to the police, who paid the bill.

He turned down the chance to tow a campervan after it became stuck at Slope Point.

“I didn’t have any vehicles to do any towing and I knew what it was like down there.”

People had been a highlight of his time at the garage.

“It’s amazing the amount of people you do meet, a lot of overseas visitors.”

Customers would miss the business because Wyndham was the nearest town for fuel and mechanical services.

His mobility had decreased in the past year, which meant he was no longer able to work.

“I’ve been waiting on a hip replacement.”

The business had been on the market since 2018 but there had been no takers.

“[It’s] sad.”

The 71-year-old had a few plans for his retirement after the hip operation.

“I’m quite keen to do a bit of fishing.

“The grandchildren are very keen on the fishing.”