Identical twins, Ian and Errol Schipanski, celebrated their 80th birthday last month and reflected on the years since they were known as ‘Seek and Destroy.’
Ian was called ‘Seek’ and Errol was ‘Destroy’ and the monikers were well-deserved.
When they were little, they would crawl under their Dad’s old Oakland car and speak in their own language to each other.
“A lot of jibber jabber stuff,” said Ian.
“As kids, we’d go up to the open cut mine and go down the shafts into the air tunnels.”
They had free access because of the steel doors, according to Errol.
“They were jammed open with the skimp dumps and you couldn’t close them so we used to sneak along quite a few metres into the tunnels, or the levels,” he said.
“Then we were warned by our father never to go down there because you might get caught down there.
“But we still sneaked away and did it.”
The twins separated when Errol left for Newcastle In 1969 as a Cadet Engineer with the Sulphide Corporation. The transfer allowed Errol to finish his Electrical Engineering degree course, which he had started at Robinson College when it was a university.
Ian worked at the Campbell and Sutton Warehouse, which is now the site of Foodland, where he would unload the train carriage.
“From the Sulphide Street Railway Station, the train would back down the railway line and would reverse down to Forner’s Bakery, which was the last stop, and uncouple the bakery flour carriage,” said Ian.
“Then it would go to the next, which was Dan’s, the grain store, and uncouple the grains carriage.
The train would go on to unload at Dalgety’s, Campbell and Sutton and G. Wood Son’s, according to Ian.
“Then D. and J. Fowler – that was the stop on the corner of Chloride and Beryl,” he said.
Some of the old shop signs are still evident in Beryl Street.
“The train lines were eventually removed, probably as a result of the Indian Pacific coming through and because the train lines then become obsolete,” said Ian.
“And then, after that, the entrance to the store, which became the Star Discount, was changed around to Beryl Street because we had alot more room as a car park there.
The twins noticed that they grew up with many similarities and coincidences.
“We have one crease only in the little finger and it was a mirror image, said Ian.
“Ian has the crease on the left hand and I have it on the right hand,” said Errol.
Errol’s future wife, Val, applied for a job at the Star Discount when her future brother-in-law, Ian, was the Office Manager of all four stores.
Unbeknownst to each other, the twins bought station wagon cars and met their future wives on double dates.
Errol went on a blind double date and married his date, Val.
Ian went on a double date with his friend but liked his friend’s date more and married her.
Ian first met fifteen-year-old Pauline at the Star Discount when she was packing dates into bags to sell.
I was Office Manager and went down the cellar to comfort Pauline, who was picking worms out of dates,” said Ian.
“The dates were imported from Iraq.
“And the worms.
“Pauline ended up being the date.”
“It’s a triple date story,” added Errol.