When I started my apprenticeship as a Locksmith in 1991, I was under the wing of a man affectionately known as ‘Spanner’. I immediately recognized him from my days of packing groceries at Harry Hoopers SSW supermarket in the ‘Big B”, Bellarine Village in Newcomb. Spencer used to come in every Thursday night and get his ‘provisions’, as he called them.
Spencer was 67 years old when I started at Guardmaster-Specialty and he had been with that company for many years before I started. Spencer had an Architectural Hardware knowledge second to none and he had the town sewn-up. Despite Pyramid collapsing just before I started, I could see why Spencer was the man so well-regarded by his peers: every morning before I arrived, Spencer had already sold enough hardware to builders to keep our employers happy. He used to say as I walked in “right well I have just made the budget, can I go home now?” He wouldnt go home though thats for sure. He loved it and I loved the positive vibes that this elder statesman produced. There was apparently an economic downturn after Pyramid, but our branch never struggled, even though we were based in Geelong– ironic really…
Spencer was building, repairing and selling locks for Hawkes Brothers Geelong since he was a young fella. The one thing he taught us, was double check everything and make sure every key worked before you handed it over to the client. He was also fanatical when it came to signatures on restricted key systems.
Spencer retired when he was about 71, but we still had him back in to help us whenever he felt like coming in. Spencer and I remained very close friends and we watched nearly every AFL Grand-final together. He loved talking about old Geelong and how as a kid he would watch the Cats play and then catch a tram home and his mum would have home-made sausage rolls in the oven. After a meal and a shower, it was back on the tram to Gannons for a dance. They seemed like better and more innocent times to me.
When Spencer passed away a couple of years ago, I was asked to be one of his pall bearers and alongside me was Grant Beckley, who worked with us as well. It wasn’t a big funeral, because Spanner had outlived everyone. However I spotted some old-faces including Rocky the Locksmith who worked with us back in the day and some Architectural Hardware legends like Brian Randall from Detail Hardware and a few others.
I am sure that everyone that remembers Spencer, has their own special memory of him; I have many but what sticks with me the most, was his work-ethic and integrity.
Vale Spencer Noel Callander.