Plumber Don celebrates career high
DON Evans owes his 50-year career as a plumber to a small ad in the newspaper - and his mum.
Having just completed Year 9 at Bremer State High School, Mr Evans was looking to enter the work force; he just didn't know what he wanted to do.
Unable to decide, his mother stepped in and made the choice for him.
"My mum noticed an ad in the Queensland Times, which stated a plumbing firm called J. R. Wyllie and Sons was looking to hire apprentice plumbers and said I should do that," Mr Evans recalled.
"I didn't even know much about plumbing or what kind of work it involved, but at my mum's request, I applied.
"I found myself in and interview room with some of my classmates and somehow I got the job."
That first job became the foundation of a successful career in the plumbing industry that led to a family business, which has been operating in Ipswich for more than 40 years.
Mr Evans' wife, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren are all part of the team that make up now Don Evans Plumbers.
"It's become a real family affair," Mr Evans said. "My son, Tim is the head plumber and my daughter, Jodie is the office manager.
"I've never pushed any of my family into the business, it's just been something they have become interested in.
"My granddaughter has recently started her apprenticeship, even though she's is too pretty for plumbing. I've also got other plumbers working for me who feel like adopted sons."
After five decades in his line of work, Mr Evans - who turned 65 last week - has seen plenty of changes in the industry since he started out in Ipswich.
"Development to the materials and the tradesmanship of plumbing has in many ways made the work a lot quicker and easier to do," he said.
"Back in the day, you had to learn how to do things like pouring lead into cast iron joints but not anymore.
"Some aspects of plumbing have become so simple, that more people are attempting do-it-yourself plumbing jobs these days.
"Of course every now and again I've been called out to homes were an amateur plumber has stuffed something up."
Mr Evans started his business after years of working under local Ipswich plumbers like Graham Harris and Bob Pocock.
His career had seen him involved in all manner of plumbing jobs; from blocking drains at houses to installing pipe pluming systems at factories.
"I was never really ambitious, it was just a job to me," Mr Evans said.
"I realised a long time ago I was a plumber. I have never thought of myself as anything different."
"Even though I have changed from being a worker to being in charge of workers, I've strived to keep my personality in tact."
As he settles into the back side of his sixties, Mr Evans said he had not thoughts about retiring yet.
"I know a lot of blokes who are older than me still going," he said. "I enjoy what I do and will continue to keep at it while I am fit enough."
In his years of experience, you may think Mr Evans has seen it all however the Flinders View grandfather said he's met with new challenges each day in his work.
"It's like fixing a toaster one day and then a different type of toaster the next," he said.
"As technology changes, so does the business so you are always learning.
"For example, I never had to install urinals with sensors when I started out - most of the toilets were pull chains
"It's an exciting business and there's a lot for a seasoned plumber like myself to be happy about."