Kevin Stolzenberg with a client - his thumbs-up, positive attitude will be among the many things missed.
Kevin Stolzenberg with a client - his thumbs-up, positive attitude will be among the many things missed. CONTRIBUTED

Kevin Stolzenberg: positive, inspirational and much-loved

KEVIN Stolzenberg loved his limited edition HSV Maloo utility.

Not quite as much as the business he built up through nearly 50 years of hard work - Stolzenberg Drilling - nor as much as his family, his son and daughters, family and friends.

But he loved that car.

Sadly, he only got to drive it twice before he died earlier this year.

Kevin Stolzenberg with Mr and Mrs Max Hockey, who were Kevin's first drilling clients when he started drilling nearly 50 years ago.
Kevin Stolzenberg with Mr and Mrs Max Hockey, who were Kevin's first drilling clients when he started drilling nearly 50 years ago. CONTRIBUTED

Now the ute, a Ford Mustang he would often drive teenagers to their formals in and all his drilling rigs, compressors and so much more are to be auctioned off.

While his material possessions may be going, what remains are the memories, stories and photos of a man who was unique, hard working and driven.

"That was the love of his life, and he did it all for his family,” his daughter and second child, Wendy Hawkins said yesterday.

LIQUID GOLD: Kevin Stolzenberg drills for water on the Cooroy Mountain Springwater property. Kevin was diagnosed with cancer and died earlier this year.
LIQUID GOLD: Kevin Stolzenberg drills for water on the Cooroy Mountain Springwater property. Kevin was diagnosed with cancer and died earlier this year. CONTRIBUTED

Wendy worked alongside her dad for 13 and a half years.

"He was a good boss. I couldn't ask for a better one, or a better dad,” she said.

Wendy describes Kevin as always giving the thumbs up and being such a positive and inspirational person.

"He loved people and he loved what he did. And he was good at it. People would wait two to three years for this man. That's why we couldn't continue the business. The shoes are too big to fill,” she said.

While her older brother Stewart learned how to become an excellent driller under his father, he is now unable to continue in that line of work.

Kevin Stolzenberg, centre in orange with clients late last year.
Kevin Stolzenberg, centre in orange with clients late last year. CONTRIBUTED

"If he was able to, he'd take it on. If I could drill, I'd do it in a heartbeat,” Wendy said.

Kevin got his first job in fencing with his brother Dowell and later worked on farms on various properties and in lots of different crops and cattle across the south east region, from Kandanga to Munduberra, before discovering his love of drilling with Bob Opperman from Binjour.

Wendy said he was a really hard worker with her brother telling her about how one day, when Kevin was mowing lawns as one of his jobs, he would run while pushing the mower, so that he could squeeze in an extra lawn for the day.

But once he discovered drilling, he never looked back, drilling stock, irrigation and water bores for farming properties and later doing mineral exploration from Biloela and Thangool in the west, nearly down to Brisbane and up as far as Bundaberg.

He could drill more than 100 bores a year for all sorts of clients, including Cooroy Mountain Springwater, the bores at Rainbow Beach, Aussie World, Ingham Chickens and Australia Zoo.

Kevin was also a big fan of the speedway and in particular the leader sprint cars. In fact, he would often take his family along to the speedway for an outing.

Later in his life he became interested in helicopters and Wendy said he was learning to fly.

Motocross was also a big attraction, with Stewart getting into the sport when he was younger when Kevin owned Gympie Motorcycles.

In February of this year, Kevin was diagnosed with cancer and underwent major surgery to prolong his life.

Wendy Hawkins and dad Kevin Stolzenberg from a couple of years back.
Wendy Hawkins and dad Kevin Stolzenberg from a couple of years back. CONTRIBUTED

It gained him a couple of months, time he felt grateful to spend with his family.

"He was positive until the end,” Wendy said.

"He said he'd never felt so loved. He never wasted a day - he said there was always too much to do. One of his favourite sayings was, 'Better get going, the night'll be upon us'.”

Kevin lost his battle with cancer on April 30 this year aged 68, but his family, children Stewart, Wendy and Rosie, and all the grandchildren all remember him fondly.

"He loved to help people. He never let people down and he never let anything beat him. He was an inspiration and he taught me the meaning of 'strength'. I'm so proud of him. I felt privileged because I got to work with him every day,” Wendy said.

The online auction of all Stolzenberg Drilling's equipment closes this Friday at 1pm with inspections on site on the corner of Keefton Rd and Bruce Hwy Kybong Wednesday (tomorrow), 8am-4pm.

Gympie Times


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