Shepparton’s Jacob van Zeist, who had been spray painting for the past 53 years, retired on Friday.By Rhiannon Horrell
It is fair to say Shepparton’s Jacob van Zeist knows a thing or two about spray painting.
Mr van Zeist, 67, retired on Friday after an impressive career spanning more than 50 years.
Known to colleagues as Jake, he was reflecting on his career, planning to travel and looking forward to reducing his golf handicap.
‘‘I want to see some of Australia — the outback,’’ he said.
Originally from Holland, Mr van Zeist came to Australia on a boat in 1956 with his family.
His wife Kiki Passenheim said when the family arrived, they stayed in a migrant hostel on the outskirts of Sydney for a short time.
She said Jake went to school in Finley.
‘‘About a year later, his father found a job at GV Water Commission, when tragedy struck. Two years after arriving in Australia and two weeks living in Grahamvale, they lost their father-husband in the 1958 floods, while working at Loch Garry,’’ she said.
‘‘We lost dad,’’ Jake said.
The family moved to Shepparton and his mother bought a home in Hamilton St.
Jake started working aged 15.
‘‘I hated school,’’ he said. ‘‘My mother thought, ‘He can be a spray painter’.’’
In 1960 he began working for Shorty Woollard (Senior) at his spray painting business on the corner of North St and Stewart St as part of a six-year apprenticeship.
‘‘Woollards had a small panel shop in those days,’’ Jake said.
He also worked at panel shop Freer’s in Mooroopna for 13 years.
In 1994, Mr van Zeist returned to Woollards to work — this time for Mr Woollard’s son, who is also known as Shorty.
‘‘I came back here. Shorty (Junior) got sick with Ross River fever,’’ he said.
Shorty said on Friday Jake had been a big part of his life.
‘‘Jake was my mentor and still is today. Jake has seen a huge (industry) change — it’s more environmentally friendly now with waterborne paints,’’ Shorty said. ‘‘Jake has always been at the forefront of change.’’
And it is clear Jake has been an integral part of the team at Woollards, with a good sense of camaraderie.
He said there was a lot of friendly banter and stirring — and bets were often placed with a prize of a meat pie or bacon and egg roll.
Shepparton Lawn player Olivia Quigley will represent Country Victoria in the Foundation Cup Interstate Challenge.
It’s been a long journey for Tim Roadley but his dream of creating a multi-sport endurance event on the Murray River is now going to be a reality.
It was a big day for Jye McNeil on Sunday, not only celebrating his 19th birthday, but riding a double at the Tatura and Shepparton Racing Club’s meeting, including the big one, the Vraca and Varapodio Italian Plate (1600 m), on the Gerald Egan-trained Jetconi.
Echuca Football Club has signed Joel Magnabosco and Kane Morris for next season.
On Friday Rochester’s St Joseph’s Primary School opened a time capsule which was buried in the 1980s.
Waste collection in Campaspe Shire will change for two weeks during the festive season.
Valley Park Farms' egg production facility is expected to increase production and staff after a $100 000 Victorian Government grant.
Murchison’s Jane Spencer’s first exhibition It Just Dawned On Me will be on show in Shepparton in the first half of next year.
Lisa Milligan has started a new dog grooming business in Heathcote to help fund her Wild ABout Wildlife centre in Kilmore.
Alistair Davey will return to his roots to teach Cobram Primary children the joy of music.
Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley says plans are in the works on how to get natural gas to Deniliquin.
New Transport Accident Commission research has revealed why some young country drivers habitually take risks on regional roads.
State Member for Benalla Bill Sykes has thrown his support behind the government’s proposed new domestic animal ownership laws.
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