Chinchilla trucking company folds after 75 years
A CHINCHILLA institution that became a statewide success as a trucking company was forced to shut the doors of every branch across Queensland on Friday.
Kurtz Transport was started in Chinchilla by a local family in 1922 and had been owned by the same family until 2009 when it was sold.
News of Kurtz's impending closure was announced to the Chinchilla community on social media by branch manager John Giles on Thursday morning and was met with great sadness.
"Tomorrow (Friday) will see the gates close on Kurtz Transport, this company has been a Chinchilla institution for over 75 years," Mr Giles wrote.
"I won't enter into the where, when, why and what has occurred.
"I am more concerned for the personnel and families that now face an uncertain future should they wish to remain in our lovely town."
Following the official closure on Friday, the families of Kurtz Transport's employees, Mr Giles and regional manager Wayne "Blue" Richters met at the Chinchilla branch on Monday to say farewell.
The children and grandchildren of Mr Giles and Mr Richters - the self-described "Kurtz kids" - spoke of growing up around the trucks where the depot had served as a second home to them.
"It's heart-breaking," Mr Giles' daughter Brooke said.
"It's all we know," Mr Richters's daughter Nikiha Davies added.
Mr Richters's children said after being an employee of Kurtz for the past 35 years - his whole working life - his relationship to the company had become much more than a job.
"We used to joke if we asked dad our date of births he'd have no idea but if we asked 'what's the Roma haul line truck's rego?' he'd (tell you)," Nikiha Davies said.
Mr Richters' other daughter, Emma, added "the only reason he remembers my birthday is because it's the anniversary of his being at Kurtz Transport".
Kurtz Transport had been the employer of about 100 staff across seven different depots in Queensland, 17 of which had been in Chinchilla and one in Wandoan.
The company went into voluntary administration on Monday, September 12 before it was announced by liquidators Ernst and Young last Wednesday that it would close.
Administrator Justin Walsh said Kurtz was a "well-established" and "well-run" company that had been badly hurt by a downturn in resources that had plagued the state.
"The company services the resources industry - mining, oil and gas - and there has been a slowdown in both of those sectors," he said.
Mr Richters said the complete closure had been something of a surprise to Kurtz employees.
"We knew things were a little bit tight over time but we thought someone was actually going to take it over," he said.
However, for Mr Giles' daughter, Taylor, the closure meant she alone would go down in history as the only person driven to their school formal in a Kurtz truck, even if that had resulted in her dress getting streaked with grease in the process.
"I was so cranky. The whole night I was holding the back of it (to hide it)," she said.