Struggling Pratten family business driven to succeed
At 63-years-old Charles Duggan found himself out of a job.
The bills were piling up, the mortgage was going unpaid, and no one would give him a chance.
So he packed up his family and bid farewell to his Sydney home, moving to the Southern Downs in search of opportunity.
It was on the Southern Downs, his brothers told him, that he could carve out a good life for himself. Property prices were cheap and he'd be surrounded by the support of a strong family.
But Mr Duggan did not strike gold in the former mining town of Pratten.
His age proved a barrier to finding work, and his father soon passed away after a year residing at the Churches of Christ.
"I was trying so hard, but it's been such a struggle," he said.
"No one would give me a job because they thought in three years I might retire, and who needs that?
"It's tough on all of us because Newstart isn't enough to live on."
Financial desperation forced Mr Duggan to become innovative: During a conversation at the local travel agency he spotted a gap in the market when he realised there weren't any direct airport shuttles in Warwick.
"It's very inconvenient not to have an airport shuttle here," Mr Duggan explained.
"If you catch the local coach to Brisbane you still have to find additional transport to the airport, which costs more money and time."
The Duggan family poured what little savings that remained into the purchase of two, airconditioned, eight-seater buses in hopes airport transport could solve their financial woes.
"We pick people up from their homes around Warwick and take them to the airport or the cruise terminal, then back home afterwards," Mr Duggan said.
"It's a pretty good deal for people, but we really need more passengers to make it a success."
The Warwick Airport Shuttle opened a little over a month ago and has since attracted just 10 customers.
"We've had a couple of regulars who work in the mines, and we got a booking yesterday for a passenger in March," he said.
"We are totally broke and I have two sons and my partner I wanted to employ, but so far I haven't been able to pay anyone, not even myself.
"I just want to see a full bus."
If you need a lift to the Brisbane airport or cruise ship terminals give the Duggan family a call on 0401 020 944 or search Warwick Airport Shuttle on Facebook, where you can book directly.