Helping to change people’s lives has seen Indigenous motorcycle mechanic and businesswoman Sharine Milne applauded for her contribution to the automotive industry.
Motivated to spend more time with her young daughter, a career change transformed the life trajectory for Sharine, who left the world of hospitality to pursue a future in the field of mechanics.
Sharine was 25-years-old when she commenced a Certificate II in Automotive Vocational Preparation at TAFE and she has not looked back since.
After graduating, the mother-of-one started work experience at R.H.D. Classic Supplies and Services located in Aitkenvale where she mastered her craft.
It has been 11 years since Sharine bought the shop and over the last decade, she has seen her business grow from motorcycle repairs and services to offering modifications, customisations, and re-builds.
Sharine, who is also fondly known as ‘Spanner’ currently employs three staff and has trained
many students wishing to pursue a mechanical apprenticeship since owning R.H.D. Classic Supplies and Services.
“It was never on the cards to own my own business but to be able to shape other people’s lives is the best part of it,” she says.
“I love teaching the next generation and the next generation is not limited to the ones that are younger than us, the next generation is the one that comes along showing interest,” says Sharine.
“I have been very big on training and my mum always said if you learn something new every day then it has been a good day,” she says.
Sharine has been recognised for her dedication to the automotive industry with various award nominations including Queensland Training Awards Small Employer of the Year and became one of the 100 faces for Queensland Government’s 100 Faces of Small Business.
She most recently was awarded the Motor Trades Association of Queensland 2022 VET Trainer Scholarship and has been shortlisted in the top three for the Queensland Training Awards Small Employer of the Year for 2023.
Ms Milne says being recognised for her hard work was only one facet of how she was serving the community.
“The awards are a by-product of what I do but I don’t do what I do for the awards, I do it for the people,” she says.
“The reason my name gets put through for awards is because of my passion to help people.”
That passion has seen R.H.D. Classic Supplies and Services venture into motorcycle modifications which has become a big part of Ms Milne’s business.
“I work with physiotherapists and surgeons so we can look at the needs and requirements of the rider and we make a planning session and work with them to design their modified bike,” she says.
“I had a customer who lost his left leg and he thought he would be without his bike which was the love of his life, but we installed an electronic shifter so he could change the gears with the thumb instead of his foot.
“Modifications are just a different way of looking at things and I have a unique way of looking at people and to see their injuries and interpret that and change things and make it so people can still ride,” she says.
The team at R.H.D. Classic Supplies and Services work on a range of motorcycles including Harley Davidsons and Triumphs, and are usually booked up to six weeks in advance.
Sharine’s personal private collection of motorcycles has grown to 17 machines including six Harley Davidsons ranging from 1977 to 2013.
Sharine says she is excited for the future and encourages anyone of any age to follow their career dreams.
“Just do it, because if you have a passion for something you shouldn’t let anyone else’s opinion matter, the only opinion that matters is your own,” she says.
“There is a support network out there for both men and women who wish to put their hand up, no matter the industry.”
Main image: Sharine “Spanner” Milne, Owner of R.H.D Classic Supplies and Services.
Image credits: Elisabeth Silvester.
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