HAPPY HOUR: Kevin Byrne at home behind his bar, ready to tell a yarn.
HAPPY HOUR: Kevin Byrne at home behind his bar, ready to tell a yarn. Jonno Colfs

A DAY IN THE LIFE: Kevin Byrne

BEFORE the world turned to technology, emails and instant messaging, Kevin Byrne was boss of one of the busiest places in town.

As postmaster, Mr Byrne was in charge of Warwick Post Office, a position he held from 1988-1996.

Now a sprightly 87 years old and retired for more than 20 years, Mr Byrne turned his hand to volunteering with St Vincent de Paul after his 40-year career, something he still relishes.

"It wasn't long after I'd finished up and one day there was a knock on the door and a couple Marj and I knew were standing there, asking me if I'd like to help out with the Vinnies' work in Warwick,” Mr Byrne said.

"This was something that appealed to me so I agreed but I asked who gave them my name.

"They told me, 'your wife', fair dinkum, she must have wanted me out of the house already.”

Volunteering at St Vinnie's was almost a full-time job, according to Mr Byrne.

"There's always been a lot of data entry and I'm still doing it,” he said.

"But I was never one to sit around bored so it suited me fine. Especially nowadays, I want to keep the brain active and keep in touch with people, stay social.”

Mr Byrne said he'd held just about every position there was in the regional St Vincent de Paul organisation, ending up serving four years as the Toowoomba Diocese president and on the state council.

"It was about that time the organisation made a huge expansion into housing, so I got to oversee all of that,” he said.

"It was a great move, helping put a roof over the head of those less fortunate.

"That was the key to me, a lot of these people had limited life skills so, once we had them in a house, then we could work on the other fundamental skills and go from there.”

Born in Dalby, Mr Byrne joined the postal service straight out of high school.

"In those days, you decided what you wanted to do and you went off and did it,” he said.

In the early 1950s a stint in the Navy saw Mr Byrne shipped off to the Korean Conflict.

"The only thing I remember about that was how cold it was,” he said.

"If you put your hand on a piece of metal, that's where it stayed.”

In between his work for St Vincent de Paul, Mr Byrne spends three days a week with his sweetheart Marj, who now lives at Akooramak.

"Anyone who knocks Warwick clearly hasn't to many other places,” he said.

"When we came here, people were so welcoming and friendly and that's never changed.”



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