NRMA celebrates 90 years in Inverell

23 March 2021
NRMA celebrates 90 years in Inverell - Desktop
NRMA celebrates 90 years in Inverell
F. Gaukroger & Sons tow truck 

The NRMA will celebrate 90 years of serving the Inverell community with F Gaukrogers and Sons on March 25. From horse-drawn carts on dusty dirt roads to electric vehicles on smooth stretches of bitumen, the NRMA’s proud history of helping the local community has withstood almost a century of change.

Gaukrogers Dealer Principal Mark Palmer, who joined the business more than 40 years ago as an apprentice mechanic and later roadside patrol officer, said the NRMA played an integral role in the safety of the local community.

“Particularly in the bush, the NRMA logo is just loaded with trust and integrity,” Mr Palmer said.

“There’s no better feeling than helping people who are stuck on the side of the road on a dark, cold, windy night. The sight of sheer relief when we help them get going is one of the most rewarding parts of what we do.”

F Gaukrogers and Sons started by selling General Motors vehicles in 1928 at the original dealership on Byron Street, and began its association with the NRMA in 1931. The business now employs 36 staff, including four Patrols.

Inverell Patrol Mick Kennedy’s association with the NRMA began when he was 11 years old, helping his step-father, who owned Gaukrogers at the time, by answering phones and calling remote patrols via two-way radio to send help.

He has now been a patrol for 35 years and said rescuing kids locked in cars, replacing flat batteries, fixing oil leaks and working on overheated motors were all in a day’s work.

Unlike many of his city colleagues, some jobs even require fast-thinking reptile management.

“I remember helping an old lady on a farm who had left a lot of empty animal food cans in her garage,” Mr Kennedy said.

“While laying under the car putting on a gear lever, I heard a rattle and felt something on my leg. I looked down and watched as a brown snake slithered over my legs, up my body, across my face and over my shoulder. I was scared as hell but stayed calm until it slithered away. This job certainly gives you some different experiences!”.

NRMA General Manager of Roadside Delivery Simon Denic said the NRMA was proud of the work the NRMA continues to do in Inverell. “More than half of the NRMA’s 2.6 million Members live in regional areas, and we know that many of our city Members are hitting the road for regional road trips this year for family holidays, so the work of our team in towns like Inverell is at the core of what we do,” Mr Denic said.

“As we reflect on an outstanding 90 years in Inverell we look forward to helping our Members prepare for the changes in motoring and mobility for many more years to come.”

Contact: Rebecca Page

Australia's largest team of Roadside Patrols

NRMA Patrols have an average of 20 years' experience