“I was raised by my grandfather and he taught me how to repair engines and motor vehicles that our family owned, like a small generator, an out-board motor and a Mini Moke which we depended on,”Eugene said.
When he was 17 Eugene met and married his wife Roxanne and, with little baby Alex on the way, they moved to Thursday Island where Eugene took a job at Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ).
However, he continued to work on his car and his in-laws’ cars in his sparetime and soon others in the area began to ask Eugene to repair their cars. “It gave me an insight into what I could do with my future,” he said.
Another move, to Cairns, saw Eugene secure a mechanical apprenticeship with Ganes Mechanical. It took six years for Eugene to finish his apprenticeship, due to illness and moving away from home and other challenges, but his ability was always apparent.
He was Tropical North Queensland Institute of TAFE’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year for
2011 and chosen to tell his story before more than 200
Finally he is on top after completing his apprenticeship and receiving a Certificate III in Automotive Mechanical Technology.
Eugene believes that education is a way to a better life and leads toan understanding of where you come from, where you want to go and the courage to believe in yourself.
“Because of my education, I know I can do this,” he said. “I can do anything and I don’t have to rely on anyone anymore because I am an educated man.”.
Eugene’s future goals centre on being an effective ambassador for his industry and community. He is already trying to make a difference in the lives of Indigenous youth in Cairns and the Atherton Tablelands when he speaks at job networks and youth group meetings.
He intends to continue his motivational speaking and one-on-one work with the job networks and various Indigenous youth mentoring groups. True to his nature, Eugene wants to pass on his knowledge and skills to make a difference in the lives of members of his community.
Eugene also buys broken down cars that no one wants, fixes them up and sells them to people who need a car but can’t afford to buy a new one. “It’s fun for me, I usually break even but it’s a hobby and I get to spend time in the garage with my son,” he said.
Eugene has just bought his nineteenth vehicle he says that one day he will own his own car.
“I’ve learnt that what you put into life, you get out of life,” he said.
The deadly stories campaign celebrates the many achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their communities.
To read other stories or post your own, visit www.deadlystories.qld.gov.au