If you have ever broken down or had a bingle on the Kings Highway, you may have met Murray Robertson. A man of few words, with an exceptionally dry sense of humour and a magnificent moustache. “Robbo’ as he is known to locals, drives Braidwood’s tow truck and runs D & S Motors on the main street.
On Friday, hundreds of townsfolk, family and emergency services workers turned out to farewell this main street business and local landmark. The garage is closing after 60 years in the Robertson family.
Fittingly, as people assembled for the farewell, Robbo had ducked out in the truck to collect a car from Northangera.
Murray’s father Ian started out as a mechanic in 1932. He got his first contract with the NRMA on 14 February 1958. The mechanical business was originally across the road where Bernardoff’s Antiques is now. In 1962 they moved to the current location of D & M Motors. Joined by his sons Murray and David, at one stage they worked three trucks around the clock. D & S Motors had the NRMA contract for 48 years.
After Murray’s brother David died in a tragic accident in 2001, Murray was often on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Ian Robertson passed away in 2017 just weeks shy of 100 years old.
Speaking at the function on Friday, D & S Motors office manager Jess D’Arcy said, “Chances are if you have broken down with cooee of Braidwood in the last 60 years, the Robbos have come to your rescue.”
“The old saying ‘If you do what you love, then you will never work a day in your life’ – rings true for the Robbos” she added.
Going through the books Jess found that in 22,113 days of operation, D & S Motors have serviced over 66,000 cars, repaired over 25,000 tyres, sold millions of litres of fuel and towed more than 20,000 vehicles.
“People feel a real connection to this place and it’s reflected in how many people turned up today,” said Jess.
Other speakers at the function acknowledged D & S as “an institution” and “part of Braidwood’s history.”
Murray has been part of an emergency services team that responds to often traumatic accidents on the highway.
Inspector Sandy Green, representing the NSW Police Monaro Command presented Murray with a Certificate of Appreciation for his decades of service.
Neville Marsden from the NSW Ambulance Service presented Murray with a Certificate of Appreciation for 50 years of service.
“Day or night, 24 hours a day, it was no problem to come and help us,” said Mr Marsden. “We will miss it.”
Fire Rescue NSW Captain Steven Hockey also presented Murray with a Certificate of Appreciation.
A NRMA representative said it’s “a really sad moment for the workshop to close up. He’s a hard worker, never gives up…he’s always here.”
“He’s worth his weight in gold for what he does for the community.”
While it will be sad not to see Murray with his classic white 1971 Falcon ute parked in the main street, he will however still be operating his towing business from his home.
So, if you break down on the Kings Highway and get rescued by Murray, remember he is a legend and a gentleman.