OAM never been so much fun

ONE DUBBO man plays a key part in putting a smile on the face of millions each year with his love of amusement rides.

Max Andrew Laurie has received the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to the community today as part of the Australia Day ceremonies.

Born on December 27, 1942, into one of the oldest carnival families in the nation, his passion for amusement rides was no surprise.

His older sister Jean Barbara shared with the Daily Liberal the secrets of his long-lasting relationship with entertainment rides.

"It came down through the generations," she said.

"I think he caught the show bug from mum and dad."

In the 1960s he took the first show equipment on rail from Dubbo to Darwin.

When he first went to the Northern Territory he used to take several amusement rides to the small Aboriginal communities.

"They really appreciated it and he was the first to bring dodgem cars there," she said.

Ms Barbara said her brother had built several dodgem car tracks and imported the cars from Italy.

The family also operated the largest rollercoaster in the Southern Hemisphere.

When his father died he gave Mr Laurie and his brother half the business each and since then he has never looked back.

"He is the one who supplies the equipment at the Dubbo Show each year," she said.

Mr Laurie had a great interest in the mechanical side of rides and loved to fix them, making sure they were safe for people to use.

On his first business trip overseas on the Queen Mary, he was was offered a number of positions abroad but refused them all.

"He believed there was plenty to do here and he had an important role to play in the community," she said.

Mr Laurie has been the Victorian Showmen's Guild president since 1996 and vice president of the Showmen's Guild of Australasia.

Victorian Showmen's Guild trustee Marjorie Chant praised Mr Laurie for his work in the community.

"One of the most significant achievements is Max's ability to listen and understand the particular needs of staging a small country show event," she said.

Wherever he went, he left a trail of fun behind him and made lots of friends across the world.

Ms Barbara said she was certain the smiles and fun people had inspired her brother to continue his passion of amusement rides.

"Wherever there is action, you'll find Max," she said.

"Dodgem cars and the rollercoaster were his favourite rides."

The OAM was a just reward for Mr Laurie's hard work and service to the community across many years.

"He never sought any recognition doing what he loves best," Ms Barbara said. "I'm proud of his abilities."

Although Mr Laurie had recently retired he could not stop repairing amusement rides.

"It's good for him to be on a cruise because he can't do much welding on the Queen Mary," she said.

"He deserves a break."

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