Years of service recognised

COMMUNITY STALWARTS: Len and Joan Hubbard (centre) with QLD Transport operations Toowoomba's Sharon Kim and Chris Trevor.
COMMUNITY STALWARTS: Len and Joan Hubbard (centre) with QLD Transport operations Toowoomba's Sharon Kim and Chris Trevor. Contributed.

AFTER a combined total of 60 years of service in the community, Len and Joan Hubbard are enjoying retirement.

The Hubbards ran Hubbards Tractor Service in Chinchilla for 42 years, in addition to the Crossroads School Bus Run, which Mr Hubbard drove each school day for 18 years.

Mr Hubbard said he started Hubbards Tractor Service after learning a tractor repair trade and working for another company.

"So we went and bought an old panel van and put some tools in the back and put an ad in the paper and went from there,” Mr Hubbard said.

"I was... happy to do everything myself and I just started off in a little carport at my house in town and was there for many years.

"Then we'd saved up enough to buy a little block of dirt on the edge of town and we built a small shed on it and continued on there.”

Mr Hubbard said in the early days his biggest customers were the local sawmill and later the electricity board, as well as locals themselves.

"I used to drive a couple of hundred miles out and camp in the swag beside a tractor and pull it all to pieces, usually the owner would help me, and then we'd come back to town and organise parts and other repairs.

"Then in a week or two when we had all the bits we'd go out and put it all back together again.”

As for acquiring the school bus run, Mr Hubbard said it was a chance to do something difference.

"I think what happened was that, when you lie in the grease all your life, you think it'd be great to get away from it for a while,” he said.

"So I decided to buy a school bus run and it was really enjoyable, we started off with probably 40 odd kids and when we hand it over to Maguires we'd be probably fairly close to 75, 80 kids on the bus.

"So the run expanded over all that time.”

The Hubbards have sold the bus run to Brendan Clark and Gina Maguire, and Mr Hubbard said he has many memories from his days driving the children to and from school.

"It was quite an enjoyable little two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon,” he said.

"What was amazing towards the end of it now, a lot of the girls that were in Grade 11 and 12, 18 years ago, they left and got an education, then possibly a job, and got married and had children and come back.

"A lot of these younger girls and their husbands went back to the family farm, and then they turn up at the school bus stop and say 'oh Mr Hubbard, our little girl here would like to hop on the bus', and then they go on and say (to their child) "when I was a little girl like you, Mr Hubbard used to take me to school' so we actually got into the second generation of people from the shire.”

Queensland Transport recognised the Hubbards for their service by presenting them with a certificate.

Mr Hubbard said he would like to thank the community for its support over the years.

"We were extremely fortunate to run a business in town.”

Topics:  chinchilla crossroads school bus run hubbards tractor service len hubbard retirement

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