Live the good life in Brooloo
KEVIN and Carol Holzapfel found themselves in Brooloo, in more ways than one.
They found the life that suited them and they found each other.
When Kevin removed the keys from their Mitsubishi Fuso school bus yesterday afternoon, it was the end of an era for both of them - and for the passengers they carried.
"We realised we were starting to carry the children of people we were carrying when we started," they said in the front room of their Sutton St home this week. "So we thought it was time to take it easy.
"This used to be the Brooloo store," Carol said. "But when the store opened in Imbil it became very hard and we converted it to a house."
Kevin found himself in Brooloo by being born into a Mary Valley dairy farming family.
He's been at Brooloo, driving school buses, for 35 years.
For Sydney-born Carol, it was a matter of conscious choice.
"I bought the store, which had a bus run with it," she said.
It also had the town's post office and newsagency.
She was here a little longer than Kevin - 36 years.
"We came here in 1977, bought the store and the bus run.
"We got married the next year and then got another run before they were merged into one.
"I was a relief driver after that.
"Kevin's still the First Officer of the (rural) fire brigade. They're doing a lot of burning off at the moment.
"We had a busy weekend," Kevin said, referring partly to the grass fire which came close to consuming the sheds and even the home of Mary Valley councillor Julie Walker.
"It was a very hot fire," he said.
So what was it like driving school students around for 35, or 36 years?
"You've got to be one step ahead of them sometimes," Kevin laughed.
"Generally I'd just have to say that I'd tell their parents and they'd stop."
"I always wanted to live in the bush," Carol said. "I love it."