The man who has meticulously mowed the Beaudesert courthouse and police station lawns for more than half a century has been recognised for his public service.
Kevin Hammermeister, 85, recently retired as a contract gardener and cleaner at the courthouse and police station after 52 years, but he has not parked his lawnmower just yet.
He loves to work and still mows about six properties around Beaudesert as well as taking care of his properties at Birnam Range and being part of the local Probus club.
Work brings satisfaction
At his busiest, local lawnmower man Kevin Hammermeister was mowing for Energex, the courthouse and police station, tending to about 20 local gardens and taking on other jobs.
Mr Hammermeister, 85, has always been able to find work around Beaudesert and is quick to point out that he is not on a pension.
“Beaudesert has been good to me. We came here when the meatworks was going, and all these odd jobs were going, I worked the Railway, mowed all the Energex substations, and worked with Tomkins’ builders when we built the first house out at Brayford,” he said.
“I worked as anything – I used to do fencing, splitting posts – I loved the night shifts at the meatworks because it gave me time to work during the day.”
Mr Hammermeister developed his strong work ethic early, growing up as one of eight kids on the family dairy farm at Bunjurgen near Boonah.
His mum was sick with cancer so when he was 14, he left school to help support the family while his dad took his mum to medical appointments.
“I say to people my school days were good because at least I had my mum then. She died when I was 15. Other people lose their mum before then, but that’s a time in life when you look for your mother I think, to lead you on the right track,” he said.
Mr Hammermeister married his wife of 57 years, Bev, in Boonah in 1965 before they came to Beaudesert to start a new life together.
“When I got married, I didn’t have a cent, I had to get a loan to go on our honeymoon. I thought, ‘Do I want to get married, because I can’t afford to keep myself,’ but married life is the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” he said.
The Department of Justice and Attorney-General recently recognised Mr Hammermeister for his outstanding service over 52 years, presenting him with a certificate of appreciation at a special morning tea held for him and Bev. He also received a personal letter from the Director-General, David Mackie, acknowledging his ‘truly phenomenal’ commitment.
“I’m not used to that kind of limelight, but it means a lot to me to do something for people,” he said.