DEMOLITION works have begun on what is believed to be Port Wakefield’s first service station, with the Tucker Time building making way for the expansion works on the Augusta Highway.
The business premises was built by local jack of all trades, Bill Gunter, starting out as a takeaway store in the early 1950s before becoming a service station soon after.
Bill and wife, Winsome, ran a takeaway and fuel service under the mantle of “Gunter’s Takeaway”.
The late couple had four sons; Ian (WA), Zane (Queensland), Troy (Ceduna) and William (Callington).
William (also known as Bill) had fond memories of the service station years.
“I remember mum would take a window table to the side of cars and take their orders from there,” he said.
Winsome was also known to thunder down the highway on a BSA Gold Star motorcycle to collect bags of potatoes from Virginia to make the shop’s hot chips.
“She was a busy lady, an absolute bee in a bonnet, she was all over the joint,” Bill laughed.
“She was the captain at the local St John’s, as well as drove the school bus in to Balaklava from Port Wakefield.”
The tale of Winsome suffering severe burns from a cooking accident is also true.
“A can of peas fell into the hot fat and it exploded, which severely burned her arm, she had scarring all over it,” Bill said.
Bill’s father was also a local character.
“He was a bloody ratbag but he worked hard and trained to be a plumber but ended up driving trucks for the highways department for a lot of years,” Bill said.
“He also carted sand and metals out of the Port Wakefield quarry for a long time.
“Dad was a jack of all trades, master of none.”
Bill said Mobil approached his parents to establish the fuel element of the service station but in the end, the couple found it too much to handle and they moved on.
“I actually used to have the huge red Pegasus horse that used to be on the roof,” Bill said.
Bill believed his father was assisted by Winsome’s dad, Harry, when building the premises.
“Bits have been added over the years but the original building is still there inside,” he said.
“It would be a solid old building, dad’s nickname was Mammoth Construction Company as he always over engineered everything, and everything he built was massive.
“There would be a huge amount of steel in there, and the besser bricks were filled with concrete, so when they’re knocking it down, it might dent a few of their machines.”
Before the demolition works begin, temporary fencing will be installed around properties for safety reasons, and utility services disconnected.
Works will be undertaken between 7am and 5pm, Monday to Saturday, and should be complete by mid-March, weather permitting.
PICTURED: William Gunter, son of the late Bill and Winsome, stands in front of the business his father built in Port Wakefield back in the 1950s.