What do an airborne hero, a handmade bass guitar and Bill Haley and the Comets have to do with George Findley's century?
The Eurobodalla resident turned 100 years on April 1. Mr Findley’s son Bruce said the young George started his apprenticeship in 1932 (aged 15) as an electrical fitter.
In the war, he joined the RAAF, reviewing overhaul procedures for aircraft magnetos to suit Australian conditions. He trained others to rewind generators and magnetos. He took over the electrical company Cecil C Row (his original employer) on the owner’s death and expanded to mechanical engineering. He retired in 1981.
Mr Findley developed: the first flameproof motor (for use in highly combustible environments) that complied with Australian standards; radioactive source holders, fire control and prevention equipment, some still in use; some of the first microwave security detection equipment, production tooling for the iconic Simpson Jewellery.
“More out of passion than financial gain, he made Australia’s first electric bass guitar,” Bruce said.
“As there were no strings available, he managed to get two sets from the Bill Haley and the Comets’ bass player when they toured Australia in 1957. Everything was made from scratch, including the machine heads and and hand-wound pickups he designed using specially manufactured Alnico magnets. The guitar design was very successful, though his focus on his engineering business meant their was only limited production.
“As a small boy he signed his name on the wing of Bert Hinkler's aircraft, after Hinkler completed the first solo flight from England,” Bruce said.
“He studied music in 1958 at the Sydney Conservatorium, however he was only allowed to do his theory and aural training, as only practical was taught for classical instruments.
IRT’s Wendy Machin said George and his wife Lorna moved in the Dalmeny Lifestyle Community in October 2007.
“Sadly, Lorna - the love of his life, developed and eventually succumbed to dementia,” Ms Machin said.
“She was moved into the dementia-specific wing of the IRT Care Centre for the last few years of her life.”
Mr Findley, however, did not stop showing his love.
“During Lorna’s residency George become a part of the care centre “family”, adopted by residents and staff,” Ms Machin said.
“Soon after Lorna’s admission, and with the guidance of physiotherapy staff, George purchased a double mobility scooter.
“For as long as George was able, he would come and get Lorna in his scooter and take her home to ensure their life was as “normal” as possible; a truly remarkable man!”
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