LUCK OF THE IRISH: Jamie Maher is ready to celebrate St Patrick's Day with son Owen, wife Lisa and daughters Abiageal and Lily.
LUCK OF THE IRISH: Jamie Maher is ready to celebrate St Patrick's Day with son Owen, wife Lisa and daughters Abiageal and Lily. Monique Preston

Broken down car leads to life in Oz

WHEN the car belonging to two Irish brothers broke down about 15 years ago, the pair could never had envisioned that would be the start of their life in Australia.

Jamie and Anthony Maher had plans to stay in Australia for a year and were on a trip up the east coast to see a bit more of the country before they were to go home to Ireland.

The pair's car broke down in Rockhampton and then again in Mackay.

Their plan had been to go to Airlie Beach and work for a couple of months, before flying back to Sydney where they had been based, before going home to Ireland.

With the car costing them a bit to get going, they were not able to catch their planned flights, instead getting jobs on Hamilton Island.

And the rest, they say, is history.

The pair remained in the Airlie Beach area, met and married their wives here, and both now have children they are bringing up here.

"We're very lucky,” Jamie said.

"It's one of those things. Things happen when you least expect it.

"I always thought I would stay 12 months, then go home. But what more could you want. It couldn't have worked out any better.”

While in Australia for almost 15 years, the brothers still celebrate their home country's national day together.

This year will be no different as the two families get together with other close friends on Sunday to celebrate St Patrick's Day with some drinks, a barbecue and a chance to listen to Irish music.

"It's pretty much what you do on Australia Day, just the music is a bit different,” Jamie said.


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