FAITHFUL WOKER: Leigh Nugent spent most of his life installing telecommunications in the Ipswich area.
FAITHFUL WOKER: Leigh Nugent spent most of his life installing telecommunications in the Ipswich area. Inga Williams

Leigh made connections all over the city for 40 years

IF YOUR home was built after 1947, there's a high possibility that Leigh Nugent installed your phone line.

Before Telstra there was Telecom and before that the organisation controlling the installation of the original telegraph lines was the Postmaster-General's Department.

When Leigh, now 85, retired in 1996 he was the longest ever serving employee ever after spending 40 years ensuring Ipswich residents were connected to the phone network.

"It was a very good job and I enjoyed every year I worked there," Leigh said.

"When I look back I have no regrets about it at all."

Leigh was born on March 27, 1931 at Boonah and grew up on a dairy farm.

Each morning and every afternoon, after ushering the cows in for milking, his parents then had to round up Leigh to help, cutting into his play time.

Leigh said the dairy farm was a wonderful place to grow up and he didn't mind walking the two miles back and forth to school every day.

"I was top of my class," Leigh said.

"During the war years we had kids from other places and there were 40 students taught by just one teacher.

"In those days all the young men had gone to war, but I was too young.

"The war finished just as I was finishing school."

 

Leigh Nugent with his relatives at the family farm in Boonah. Leigh is in the middle and Pat's head can be seen over his shoulder; she was pregnant at the time the photo was taken.
Leigh Nugent with his relatives at the family farm in Boonah. Leigh is in the middle and Pat's head can be seen over his shoulder; she was pregnant at the time the photo was taken.

Leigh can still hear the sound of the whistles blowing at the nearby saw mills the day the Second World War was declared over.

At 14-years-old Leigh left school, as everyone did in those days, and did a short stint working at the Boonah Butter Factory before starting with the Postmaster-General, working in the Boonah area at first.

One night, at a dance in Templin near Boonah, Leigh met the love of his life.

Her name was Lorrette Patricia, a school teacher who travelled across the state before settling in Silkstone.

Everyone knew her as Pat.

 

Leigh Nugent's late wife, known as Pat.
Leigh Nugent's late wife, known as Pat.

After that first meeting, Pat went to teach in Gin Gin just outside of Bundaberg.

"She came back on holidays to see her parents who had a farm near Boonah," Leigh said.

"It was the second time I saw her, at that dance at Rosevale and we started going out after that.

"She was nice, she was also fairly good looking, a very pleasant person ,a very good hearted person... that's why I fell in love with her."

In 1955 Leigh married the love of his life Lorrette Patricia, 'Pat', and together they raised four sons.

 

The four sons; Shane was the eldest, followed by Kerry, Brendan and Michael.
The four sons; Shane was the eldest, followed by Kerry, Brendan and Michael.

When asked, Leigh said his family was probably his greatest achievement, but it hasn't been without heartache.

In the early days he and Pat suffered the loss of their first baby being still born. Pat died eight years ago.

This year in March Leigh lost his eldest son Shane Leigh Nugent, which hit him hard, but said he was lucky to have such a wonderful family and an enjoyable childhood himself.

Other than the heartache and grief that comes with losing people, Leigh said he has no regrets. "My life was all free and easy, I never had any problems."


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