Phil is hanging up the plunger after 32 years

By Alex Gretgrix

THERE has been a lot of water flow under Phil Penny’s bridge — and it started long before he joined Moroney’s Plumbing Supplies at Rochester 32 years ago.

He just never realised it would start with his childhood next-door neighbour Geoff Moroney.

Because in the good old days all they ever seemed to do was end up having fights over one thing or another.

Which might explain why Phil moved around a fair bit before finally signing on with Geoff.

Phil said he studied at Echuca Tech and did his plumbing apprenticeship with Ernie Lawrence in Rochester — and then he hit the road.

But with plumbing in his blood, Phil just couldn’t keep away from the water and ended up working on cray boats in Western Australia.

“After that I came back and started working for the water board, mostly doing filtration,” Phil said.

“Then I swapped and went to work as water bailiff working on irrigation and channels in the region,” he said.

Water, water and more water.

And all along he had started doing a bit of work in his spare time for the Moroneys — yep, more water.

“From there it just started to evolve and in the end I crossed over and went to work with Geoff full time,” Phil added.

And Geoff said things picked up exactly where they left off.

He said the childhood neighbours started their regular round of arguments and fights “but we always sorted them out on the job, as you should”.

“Phil was always a big favourite with the customers, especially the older ones, because they really valued the thorough work he did for them,” Geoff added.

“We are already hearing from customers sad to hear he is leaving, customers he turned into very loyal supporters of our business,” he said.

With his last day on the job this Friday, Phil said he already had some major plans for the future — although COVID-19 might have put them on the backburner for the next six months or so.

“My wife Shirley and I would love to travel around Australia — and then around the world — once this COVID thing is over, or under control,” Phil said.

He and Shirley might also spend more time with children Kylie and Matthew and their grandchildren.