TINKERMAN: Dick Muller loves to build and invent in his backyard shed.
TINKERMAN: Dick Muller loves to build and invent in his backyard shed. Tom Threadingham

A farm boy who turned flier

IF THERE’S one place you’ll always catch Dick Muller, it’s in his backyard shed.

From bikes and planes to a raft of agricultural equipment, Dick has spent most of his life tied up in the inner workings of machinery.

Describing himself as a "tinkerer", Dick’s vast knowledge and hands-on approach to life often has him methodically working on a range of projects in his backyard workshop.

To this day, taking pride of place hanging from the roof of his shed is his first ever creation – a small handmade grey plane with working propeller motor.

The plane is where it all began for Dick, who built it while growing up calling Lowood home.

Dick was born at the Lowood Hospital on August 20, 1927, and attended Clarendon State School.

With his parents running a dairy, potato and onion farm, it wasn’t long before he left school to help out.

"When I left school it was straight home to work on the farm," Dick said.

"When the war was on, a lot of us young blokes were driving trucks carting produce from the farms to the railway station in Lowood, to load it on for the markets in Brisbane.

Working on the farm also helped to spark a second passion in life for Dick.

"The war was on at the time and the Lowood airfield was being built and my dad’s property was only about two miles across the creek, in direct line with the airfield," he said.

"Australia, at that time, never had a big airforce, so the Lowood airfield came to life real quickly when the Americans arrived.

"They had all the heavy earth-moving equipment, new roads went in and the airfield was put down with a bitumen runway which was later used for the Lowood speedway.

Dick said he would often watch the planes soar over his property.

"You would see a flight coming from Brisbane and come across our farm at low altitude and ready for landing," he said.

"Sometimes there would be Kittyhawks, and there could be 12 to 20 planes in a squadron coming in and landing.

Another passion in Dick’s life is motorbikes.

He joined the Lowood motorcycle club and would often ride to destinations with the club.

On his brand-new American Army surplus Harley, he wasn’t your average rider either, embracing his inner daredevil on many occasions.

"I could ride that Harley down the farm standing up in the seat any old time at all," he said.

"On a Sunday afternoon, when they had football at Lowood, I used to go down and sometimes give them a demonstration standing up on the bike."

Dick married his wife Valma on April 11, 1953, at the Marburg Lutheran Church. He now heads down to the Lockyer Valley Community Activity Shed and joins other like-minded individuals tinkering and building a range of pieces.