If you happen to notice a bus driving around SwanCare, chances are that it’s Brian Mutzig at the wheel.
16th January 2024
If you happen to notice a bus driving around SwanCare, chances are that it’s Brian Mutzig at the wheel, a volunteer village bus driver and retirement living resident at SwanCare Bentley Park. Brian has become a much-loved and well-known part of our community, and we decided it was about time that we found out a little more about him!
Brian grew up in Kensington with his three sisters. He admits that being the only boy he was “a bugger of a kid!”.
1953 saw his family shift from Perth to Bridgetown after Brian’s dad landed a teaching job at the local high school. If he wasn’t at the weekly Cubs group, you’d find Brian in the bush near his house joined by the other neighbourhood kids. Together they would build log cabins, dig great big holes in the ground, and try (unsuccessfully) to catch gilgies! He fondly recalls his time here as some of the best years of his life.
“I was friends with a lad whose father ran the apple packing shed,” said Brian, “Sparksey and I used to get up to all sorts of mischief, like putting coins on the rail track and watching the trains come along and flatten them!”
A Teacher for Life
Brian completed his Leaving Certificate in Kalgoorlie and attended the Muresk Agricultural College near Northam, although soon discovered teaching was his calling. After graduating from teachers’ college, he worked in many schools around Western Australia, from Mogumber to Morawa, Nollamara, and Northam. In 1980 he returned to Perth to work in teacher development, before being appointed as Deputy Principal at Nedlands Primary School, Dalkeith Primary School and Floreat Park Primary School. He remained working at Floreat for 24 years before retiring in 2014, marking the end of a successful 48-year career. His passion for teaching is undeniable, prompting us to ask what it was about the profession he loved so dearly.
“At Floreat Park Primary we had children coming to school wanting to learn,” explained Brian, “I just wanted to impart knowledge to them and help them enjoy learning.”
Brian has two sons, Andrew and Stuart, with his wife at the time, Carolyn, who he first met while teaching swimming at Quinns Rocks.
“Carolyn’s family had a holiday beach house there. Her younger brother was in my swimming class, and on the last day of classes, she came down with a plate of watermelon. We got talking, and I enjoyed the watermelon! That was how it all started. It was a long weekend in 1969 when we got married.”
A Rich Family History
What’s in a name? For Brian, a lot!
From what Brian understands, the Mutzig family originated in France where 20km west of Strasbourg, there is a village called Mutzig (it's classed as a village but it’s about the size of Northam.) Mutzig Beer was brewed there from the 1790’s until 1973 when it was bought by Heineken.
“The beer was referred to as the ‘Queen of the Alsace’,” explained Brian, “It’s a lager-type beer, light in colour. It’s still sold now, and you can even buy a t-shirt with the Mutzig symbol on the front and ‘Mutzig made me do it’ on the back!”
In addition to his teaching career, Brian is also an experienced bus driver, having attained his license in 1978. When he moved to SwanCare he put his skills to good use, now volunteering for the Matinee Club which provide organised daytime outings for residents. This could be a trip to Patsy Durack's Rose Gardens for morning tea or taking a visit to Tivoli Theatre to watch the Christmas show. In addition to organising exciting excursions, Brian takes high-care residents out for the morning to get coffee and ice cream.
It’s not just the pleasure of helping others that Brian enjoys in his role, he loves driving, “I have a fascination with driving. I've racked up well over a million kilometres in my driving years, I do a lot of thinking when I'm driving.”
In addition to his volunteering work, Brian is also a keen member of SwanCare’s Photography Club.
“Carolyn and I bought a camera in 2016 when we lived near Lake Gwelup, where there’s quite an extensive bushland.”
“I started taking photos of various shapes, trees that were growing in the water, and reflections. There were about a dozen resident swans, and I enjoyed photographing them gliding past in the morning mist.”
Nowadays you can always count on Brian to have his iPhone on him, ready to capture the moment.
Brian, you bring joy to so many residents' lives and we love having you as part of the SwanCare family. We appreciate the role you play here and want to thank you for sharing your story with us.