Our Priceless Past: Story of Nev and Pat Gregory
"IF WE had life over again, we wouldn't change too much."
Neville Gregory was born in Temora, Western NSW, 7 March 1934, to Arthur and Kathleen Gregory, the oldest of four children, with sisters Glenda, Valerie (known as Billie) and Pam.
When young, Nev enjoyed hunting and shooting in bushlands, later trapping rabbits and selling them to the freezing works in town, for extra money.
A significant event during childhood was when Nev almost blew up the science lab while experimenting during a lunchbreak with his friend.
His mate had said, "Have you ever seen hydrogen burn?". Nev replied "No, I haven't". He said, "I'll show you" and lit a match. It was next to the generator and the generator blew up.
Luckily, no one got hurt, but the boys were out of that room in no time. Nev's father told him to get a job before getting kicked out of school, so he started a watchmaker apprenticeship at H Nicolson & Co Jewellers, Temora, aged 14.
As a cricket player when younger, Nev invited Pat to a game. "If that's cricket, I'm never going again" she said, as he'd been bowled out early, leaving Pat watching everyone else play.
Patricia Mulcahy was born in Temora, 13 April 1937, to Les and Rose Mulcahy. Her four siblings, two girls and two boys, were Fay, Gwen, Terry and Gary. A significant memory of Pat's was the mile and a half walk to school every day.
Little brother Gary was walked by his siblings on his first day of school, as they left for Temora High School. Gary then walked home the mile and a half on his own, into the kitchen of their home telling their mother he didn't have to go to school anymore as he knows everything.
Working in a newsagency during the school holidays was Pat's first job. She studied Nursing at Temora Hospital and was there for four years. Pat used to donate blood to Red Cross. Her interests included tennis and squash, and still to this day, gardening. Pat took Nev to play squash with her one day. He said, "That wasn't my way of dying!".
Married 19 April 1958, in Temora, their two favourite wedding memories are, after the reception when driving to their hotel room, they were chased by people from the reception. They also had bricks placed in their luggage.
So, when Neville had to take the bags up to their room, he thought he got weak because the luggage was too heavy. Honeymooning at the Gold Coast, they drove in the boss's car he had lent them. Their family had also chipped in enough money, so they could go. Nev and Pat have three children - two daughters, Karen and Jacqueline, as well as their youngest, son Mark.
Returning to work, firstly in Temora then in Griffith Nev managed the GW Speirs Jewellers store and Pat continued nursing. Moving to Gladstone in 1972, they purchased their own business on Tank Street. It had been advertised for sale and investigated by their Gladstone friend, Les Katsenavas. This became Neville Gregory Jewellers. In 1987, they moved to Kin Kora Mall, now Stockland Gladstone, until 2016. The business became known as Neville Gregory Leading Edge Jewellers. Their daughter Karen worked for them for the last 20 years.
Active in the community, they both belonged to the Lions and Lioness Clubs. The family generously supported the Gladstone Harbour Festival Queen from the mid 1970's until 2015. As well as donating a gold bracelet to a Lions Club fundraiser, they donated Rado watches to the Gladstone Tennis Association for their Gladstone Open Competitions for five years.
Travelling throughout Australia, firstly with a camper trailer, they then had their own plane 1978 to 2004, flying around Australia and up to Papua New Guinea. After selling the plane, they clocked up 120,000kms in their caravan, seeing Australia at a much slower rate. Nev retired aged about 75 years and Pat retired when aged 78 years. "Life has been kind to both of us and we have enjoyed every minute of it."