Madeline Moore – Grease Monkey

Cb: Hi Madeline. Tell me a little about yourself…

I’m 22 years old and I live on the Coffs Coast. I moved here from Sydney when I was eight. I’m the eldest of four children and I’m a mechanic by trade. I’m currently a 4th year which is the final year of my apprenticeship with Knudsen Automotive in Toormina.

Cb: When did you realise you had a passion for cars and how did you go about making this your career?

It’s funny, I’ve never really been into the V8s, followed much motorsport or engaged in anything competitively so it’s surprising I got into this.

It was a bit of an accident really. I bought an older BMW when I was 17, changed a brake light and from then on, I spent any moment I could hanging out with friends and doing things to cars late into the night. I did a prevocational course in Automotive and it all fell nicely into place from there.

I’ve stumbled upon my dream job and that’s something some people spend a lifetime trying to achieve. I feel very privileged to be doing what I love.

Cb: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a female in a male-dominated industry?

I wouldn’t say I’ve faced many challenges as a female in a male dominated industry. I think sometimes it can be a harder transition for the males than it is for me. I’ve spent my whole life around more men than women because I like the straight-forward approach.

Madeline Moore fixing a car

I’ve been accepted as a tradie because I am a tradie. I act and think like one. Yes, I’m female but I’d rather be having a beer with the boys or doing something car related than getting my nails done.

Cb: What advice would you give to other young women considering becoming a mechanic or tradie in general?

Just have a go. In my first year I learnt that a ‘pocket full of dreams and a can-do attitude’ goes a long way. The only person standing in your way is you. If I can make it happen, with the anxiety disorders I have, then I’m sure you can too. Nothing has been simply handed to me.

If you want it to happen, make it happen and someone will see your determination. The necessary prerequisites are important too. I went to TAFE and did work experience to make sure it was something I wanted to pursue.

Cb: Have you had good mentors along the way?

I’ve had many wonderful mentors. My current mentors are John Knudsen and Max Pugh at Knudsen Automotive. I am a product of all of my mentors though. I’ve learnt something from everyone I’ve worked closely with.

My TAFE teachers, Dave and Paul, have been there through thick and thin with me and have definitely been the strongest constants throughout my apprenticeship. They know how much they mean to me and I can’t thank them enough for getting me to where I am today.

Cb: What kind of reaction do you get from people when they learn what you do for a living?

People are surprised that I do what I do but I’ve become kind of numb to that reaction now. I’ve considered telling people I work at Big W, just so they don’t ask me about the noise in their car!

Madeline Moore at work

My biggest frustration is when people find out that I’m a mechanic and they instantly tell me they don’t trust their mechanic. It’s simple – if you don’t trust your mechanic, find one you feel you can trust. Find one who will be honest with you and take the time to explain things and answer your questions. It’s the same as finding the right doctor. Find someone you feel comfortable with.

Cb: What do you love most about life on the north coast?

I love that I can get away from reality here. You can escape the crowds and be in the middle of nowhere within half an hour.

Cb: How do you best like to spend time away from work?

When I’m not tinkering on a car, I enjoy camping and exploring with my friends.

Cb:  I hear you have a passion for drift racing.

Yes. I really enjoy drift racing but I’m not really one for the competitive side so, at this stage, I’m more of a spectator in that world.

Cb: What other experiences are high on your wish list?

I toyed with the idea of travel but at the moment I’m too much of a workaholic to think about that. I’m genuinely happy with where I am right now – learning and going to work five days a week. That for me is a pretty happy life.

I would love to have my own business one day but also have the choice to leave someone else in charge at times, for a few weeks, so I could travel. Longer-term, more travel in Australia really interests me.

 Cb: Is there a motto you try to live by?

I guess the motto I live by is: ‘keep on keeping on’. You just might have to go around a few corners before you get there but there will always be something good around the next bend in the road.

Thank you, Madeline.