When the Tancred’s meat workers went on strike, Ian Duff and his mates thought they’d make a motza picking pears in Cobram.
They earned about $10 their first day, which did little to cover the $200 fine for speeding on the way down.
Needless to say, the pear picking fiasco made Tancred’s look pretty appealing.
“It was such a good job at the meatworks, and we got good money. Council workers might’ve got $250 a week and we were pulling between $800 and $1200 a week,” he said.
“The town was flourishing, people were spending money here, and everyone was doing well out of it.”
Duff’s Secondhand Furniture is an icon in Beaudesert.
It’s where Duffy, as people affectionately call him, spends his time these days, after doing 22 years at Tancred’s and buying and running the old squash centre on Hart St for years.
Duff’s will be 30 next year (Duffy and former wife Renae opened it in 1993 in the old Enright’s building) and it’s endured a fire, a rental hike and two floods.
It’s a laid-back place and many locals have decked out their homes with a bargain from the shop over the years.
“People ask me, ‘when are you gonna retire?’ and I say, ‘well I don’t really want to – I like what I do, and I like people’,” he said.
Duffy’s life changed pretty quickly when his dad was in a terrible accident.
“Dad was killed in 1975, at Tamrookum right in front of the house, in a collision on the corner as you come in,” he said.
“It does stick out. Jim Lancaster was the ambulance officer, and I was watching a movie in town and Mrs Marshall tapped me on the shoulder to tell me dad had an accident.”
Duffy’s mum died when he was 12, so he and his little brother shifted out of the railway house to a place they called their ‘little house on the prairie’ at Laravale for $15 a week.
“We ended up with a couple of extras that moved in with us, and the rent was nothing – it was the food that was the killer, with all us blokes. We had some good times there,” he said.
Duffy will be 70 next year, and Beaudesert is well and truly his home.
He was born in Lismore in 1953 and moved here from Rappville, the other side of Casino, in 1968 for his dad’s work on the railway.
He and Renae raised their three kids here – Travis, 34, Ethan, 32 and Brogan, 29 – and he became involved in the community as a businessman and through Lions for years.
“Now I like to go out and play golf a bit. I don’t travel around – I like sticking around here. I’d sooner use my money within the community all the time,” he said.