Glenrothes Motor Repairs celebrates 50 years in business - in Australia!

Bill Smith (right) opened Glenrothes Motor Repairs in Adelaide in 1969, which is now run by his son Sean.
Bill Smith (right) opened Glenrothes Motor Repairs in Adelaide in 1969, which is now run by his son Sean.

The name of Glenrothes has been proudly and successfully displayed Down Under for the last 50 years.

Local man Bill Smith emigrated to Australia over 50 years ago and opened up his Glenrothes Motor Repairs business in Adelaide in 1969.

Five decades on and the family business is still going strong.

Bill said: “I went to Australia for the weather mainly - and the wages!

“I worked in Leslie at Hamish Gordon’s garage and it was a big difference moving to Australia and getting £20 a week.

“I saw there was an opportunity to start my own business. I was up in the bush in Fort Augusta for a couple of years working at a power station.

“I then came down to Adelaide. I saw people making money for themselves and I thought, why can’t I do that? So I did.”

The result was Glenrothes Motor Repairs which opened in 1969 and 50 years later is still going strong under the ownership of Bill’s son Sean.

“I get called Glen a lot!” Sean said, “I get people coming in asking to speak to Mr Glen Rothes!

“I’ve got a lot of Scottish customers and they get it - the Aussies don’t”

Bill added: “The business has got a good name and Sean is doing a better job with it than I ever did.”

After Bill retired in 2001 the business was in the hands of new owners, but Sean bought it back into the family two years later.

Sean said: “My wife and I have been running it for the last 16 years. The name never changed and it’s one of the oldest businesses in the area.

“I’ve got two mechanics working with me, one of them was my dad’s first ever apprentice. He’ll be retiring soon too! He said, ‘I started with your dad and I’ll finish with you’.”

Bill added: “Sean’s done a lot of studying and technical courses. I couldn’t work on these modern cars now. I open the bonnet, have a look and just drop it again!”

Bill and Sean were recently in Fife on a visit, which surprisingly is Sean’s first one ever.

He stayed with a cousin in Glenrothes and said he loved his time in Scotland and is delighted he found the time to make the trip.

“It’s hard with a business, that’s why I’m here in winter,” he said. “You can’t shut a small business down for very long.

“Scotland is beautiful. It’s very old compared to Australia with its history and its buildings. I’m into that sort of thing.

“I like the old style houses and big churches. There’s a lot more history here. We’re just babies in comparison.

Sean spent New Year up north before he and Bill headed back home to Adelaide.

Bill added: “His dad is very proud of him.”