Training centre named after beloved Gympie 'institution'
EIGHTEEN years of service has resulted in a touch of immortality for Skillcentred member Geoffrey Garratt, whose name now lives on Mary St thanks to his dedication.
Mr Garratt was surprised today with the announcement of his name now adorns the Mary St training centre when more than two dozen past and present members of the group gathered to celebrate at a morning tea.
Board chairman Michael Williams called Mr Garratt an "institution” who "completely changed” Gympie Skillcentred.
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In reply, Mr Garratt said yesterday's dedication was a "wonderful honour - maybe I deserved it and maybe I didn't.”
"One person who came to us without skills ... did a relatively simple course of three months.
"He went on to get a job, and then ... to develop (his skills) and run his own business.”
Mr Garratt said he met the man a few years after he graduated from Skillcentred and "the difference in him was remarkable.”
His run at Skillcentred is only half as long as he has been in Gympie, but Mr Garratt said he still considered himself a "stranger” to the city.
And before that?
"I did everything,” he said.
"I was a watchmaker after I came back from the Second World War. I then became a discount house operator.”
This was followed by more than 25 years in real estate, during which time he "invested in things like a prawn trawler in the Gulf of Carpentaria”.
He eventually bought a farm at Long Flat where he retired "to keep myself busy”.
That farm was one of the original macadamia plantations with 400 trees planted by the Mason family.
"I've had a long and varied career,” he said.