This week in our continuing series on people in business we catch up with Lloyd Garratt, Cowra Services Club secretary manager.
Were you born in Cowra?
No. I've only been in Cowra since 1995.
Where did you move from?
I worked in the bank, I was at Mungindi, in western NSW. It's west of Moree. It's on the QLD/NSW border where the border goes in a little hump. I got transferred from Mungindi to Cowra and worked here at the Westpac Bank. I was born in Lockhart, NSW
What got you into the banking industry?
I guess it was something I always wanted to do. Generally, being a teller was as far as I thought I was ever going to go in a bank. But then it led me to management and that's how I ended up in Cowra really.
After I finished with the bank I went on a six month trip around the world and then I came back and worked for the government as a rural financial counsellor for 12 yearsn and then I became the manager of the Cowra Services Club, 12 years ago.
Was it a jump to go from finances to the Services Club?
Not really. The basis for the job here is really the finances and running the business but there's a lot more to it as well. There's the people, but you also need to understand the systems within the club and the financial component is very much part of managing the business.
What about that world trip? What can you tell us about that six months, where did you go?
Well a mate and I started in Africa then we went through Europe, Ireland, Egypt and finished up in Canada, Hawaii and then home.
Did you backpack?
Yep and it was interesting for me. It was an absolute eye opener that you begin then to appreciate your own country and everything you've got and things you take advantage of. When we camped out in Africa, some of the villages we stayed in those people still had brooms that they swept their dirt floors with. Some of them had no electricity. Things that we just take for granted.
We were out in the wild and it was fantastic. When we got into Egypt the people there were just doing it really, really hard. At the markets the cow (carcass) just hangs up out on the road and people just come up and cut bits off it. You realise how lucky you are to live in a country like Australia.
What was the best place you visited?
I loved Switzerland. I had a friend I knew in Switzerland that lived there and we stayed with her. They had 33 hectares and we operated their dairy for two weeks. They had 35 cows. The house was upstairs and the cows lived underneath. We used to milk and feed the cows and jump on the motorbikes and drive the milk up to the dairy. While you were up there you would pick up your own cheese and milk that you needed for your own house. It was a real co-op type thing, I loved it there. Backpacking is hard work. It is a holiday but you are on the go the whole time. When we had a week in Hawaii we laid on the beach and did nothing before we came home.
We backpacked because we couldn't afford to stay in hotels. It was different. There was a place when we were in a room with 16 other blokes and the smells and noise was unbelievable.
What does a typical day look like for you at the Services Club?
We start at 7:30 in the morning to balance the books and input all of that data. We then have a look at the day's staff to see what we have got on, who's rung in sick, who's not available and all of that sort of stuff. I guess on different days I've got to prepare reports for the board of directors, see if there's any challenges at the motel and how it's operating. At the night time we have the raffles and those sorts of things. There's different travellers who come in to see you and wanting to sell you stuff, see your programs and your systems.
Outside of work how do you wind down?
For me it's my garden. I've got three or four acres of garden at home and I just love being in my garden. I love my children but it's just nice being there by yourself as well. Being in the garden is relaxing and unwinding. My biggest claim to fame this year is picking avocados for the first time in eight year which I grew from seed.
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