Friends of Garth Wallace gathered to remember their mate, who died of a suspected heart attack on November 30.By Ashleigh Williamson
Garth Wallace ensured lunch time at St George’s Rd Primary School was always competitive and fun.
Mr Wallace organised bicycle or go-kart races around the school — student activities that would never be allowed these days because of safety concerns.
His brother Brent said not everyone enjoyed the races, though.
‘‘A neighbour living next to the school thought we made too much noise, ’’ Brent said.
‘‘He reached for the (go-kart’s) spark plug once and shocked his arm.
‘‘The school ground was the hub to play and Garth was always a big part of that.’’
Mr Wallace, 56, died of a suspected heart attack at his Shepparton business’ shed on November 30.
The motorcycle mechanic will be remembered as a smart businessman and entertaining friend to people of all ages.
Garth David Wallace was born in Melbourne on December 10, 1956 as the second of three sons to Shepparton couple Errol (dec) and Heather.
The reluctant student left Shepparton High School for a more practical education at Shepparton Technical School.
‘‘He wasn’t scholastic and our parents realised he should be on the tools, ’’ his brother Derek said.
‘‘I was doing well at high school and thought Garth would go nowhere because he was at technical school, but, in hindsight, he has succeeded us all.’’
Mr Wallace learned vehicle mechanics working on tractors with his grandfather Albert.
Albert bought and sold cattle for his grandson, who also raised a pet pig named Moses.
Mr Wallace built a motorcycle track at his grandfather’s Kialla farm.
‘‘I was at high school with two bob to my name and he was paying cash for everything, ’’ Derek said.
Mr Wallace finished a motor mechanic apprenticeship at Macquip Forklifts and worked at Smith Motors before starting his own business aged 22.
Bulldog Motorcycle Wreckers specialised in dismantling, fixing and rebuilding motorcycles, changing and fitting tyres, fixing engines and crash repairs.
Mr Wallace also sold spare parts for all motorcycle brands and models and sent them across Australia.
Derek said his brother was a smart judge of people, especially in business.
‘‘He had a buzzer for when people walked in the door and if someone stood in the door, the buzzer would keep going off, ’’ Derek said.
‘‘If someone looked around to see if they wanted to go in, that’s how Garth decided if someone was genuine or not.’’
Mr Wallace started visiting his friend Andrew Govan-Smith in San Francisco to import container loads of Harley Davidson motorcycles.
He would restore the Harleys, which retail for about $20,000 to $35,000.
‘‘Everything he had, he looked after, ’’ Brent said.
‘‘He turned someone’s junk into someone else’s gold.’’
Harry Haig thought of Mr Wallace as his younger brother.
‘‘He was 56 going on 14. He was always the life of the party, ’’ Mr Haig said.
‘‘He was the last to go to bed at a party and the first to get up the next morning.
‘‘There was never a dull day with Garth.’’
Ken ‘‘Bugsy’’ Kennedy drove from Queensland to farewell his close friend.
Mr Kennedy said he spoke to Mr Wallace at least twice weekly.
‘‘He was a private person who didn’t tell a lot, but there wasn’t a lot I didn’t know about him, ’’ he said.
Mr Haig said he visited Mr Wallace at his business’ shed on Lockwood Rd daily.
‘‘Garth’s coffee house I called it, ’’ he said.
‘‘He will be remembered as a legend.’’
Garth Wallace is survived by his mother Heather, his partner Debbie Deane and brothers Brent and Derek.
His funeral will start with a motorcycle ride from his Bulldog Motorcycle Wreckers shed on Lockwood Rd, to the Shepparton Showgrounds from 2pm today.
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