THBC: When did you start at Tweed Heads Bowls Club?
Well, I’m a repeat offender. I first started back in the mid-’80s (and yes, I must have still been in primary school) and worked for ten years doing everything from glass swampy, laundry (yes, the Club did its laundry!), you name it. Bingo stamping with the likes of Sandy, Sonia, Gail and Di and all the other long-term suspects. I also covered the maintenance guys holidays and RDOs.
I became a Pokie Supervisor, then a DM and later the grandly named Sub-Assistant Manager responsible for doing the roster when it was a difficult handwritten spreadsheet for over 130 staff at the time.
Then, I bailed and went boatbuilding for 16 years. Some great stories there for sure but I would need to open a bottle of red wine to share them.
Got a look-in back at THBC, first shift back after 16 years was an eight-hour late pokie floor shift. They were going to see if this one was going to sink or swim. I survived but soon ended up out in the maintenance department with Murray.
THBC: What does your average day at work look like?
DF: Have to say the majority would be made up of admin type chores, organising outside tradesmen for specific maintenance jobs, invoicing, answering emails and phone. When there are projects on or pending, there is plenty to do, just toing and froing between all the people involved. Oh, and moving furniture.
THBC: What maintenance are you doing while the Club is closed and why is it essential?
DF: Murray and I are keeping an eye on a host of things, alternating each day to make sure that machinery and plant are checked and run periodically to alleviate any potential problems when we get the opportunity to start up once again. Much of this plant is designed to run pretty-well 24/7, and if problems were to be caused upon start-up due to neglect, the repair bills would run into some serious dollars. We also have obligations to various Australian Standards to upkeep, the fire systems being an obvious one, and closed water systems within the building.
Other onerous tasks are simply flushing toilets and keeping drains fresh so that no hygiene problems are given a chance to arise.
THBC: Are you working on a specific project while the Club is temporarily closed?
DF: Toward the end of this month, the escalators which were due to arrive mid last month will be coming on-site—just confirming the detail of that as we speak but looking likely to be a hectic few weeks of works to get them up and running—border access for tradies and others notwithstanding.
THBC: What trade did you study?
DF: Chippy by trade, boat builder by choice.
THBC: Where did you grow up?
DF:Cronulla, Sydney. My parents met at the old original Greenmount Lodge, so my second home since I could first walk was holidays twice a year right here in Tweed Heads. I guess the old Hawaiian Nights have a lot to answer for.
THBC: I know you are building a boat; can you please tell me more?
DF: Yes, three mates and I are tangled up in the current project. A thirty-foot sail racing trimaran, lightweight composite build. We have designed and built all but the mast ourselves and kept the ball rolling on the drip-feed of time and money. Has been a great project as we all bring different skills into the build. A sailmaker and rigger, a painter and talented general trade hands-on guy, a computer and CAD nerd with composite skills and an old boatbuilder, all very much looking forward to launching day. That’ll be a party not to miss.
THBC: Where do you plan on sailing to once its finished?
DF: We will be based out of Manly in Brisbane where we will do all the local regattas there and head north for Airlie Beach Race Week and Hamilton Island regattas and south for regattas on Lake Macquarie and Pittwater. We can also disassemble and transport over to SA for Port Lincoln Race Week and Vincent Gulf regattas or maybe down to Geelong for some races in Victoria.
We are shamelessly seeking sponsors, so don’t be shy!
THBC: Does your boat have a name yet?
DF: I think so, El Toro, due to the look of the foredeck with the self-tracking bracket which looks like bulls’ horns hanging out of the deck.
THBC: What are your hobbies?
Not sure I have any hobbies. Keeping up with all that’s new is what interests me, architecture and building, the sharp end of offshore sailing, surfing, peoples travel secrets. Maybe all of that’s my hobby. Can say I don’t do needlepoint, but I respect those that do.
THBC: What’s your favourite food?
Ahh, easy the last few seasonal menus that the boys have put together in nineteen21, any of the spicy fish dishes for me are amazing. They have a knack of blending a fusion of spicy and crisp sharp flavours that would keep me coming back for more, and I do. I’m told their steaks are to die for, but I’m still working through the spicy end of the menu.