Maurie Bartlem, who turned 75 on Sunday, demonstrates his skill at roller skating.
Maurie Bartlem, who turned 75 on Sunday, demonstrates his skill at roller skating. Tony Martin

How long can you go? Limbo champion celebrates birthday

HOW low can you go?

At 75, Maurie Bartlem, is a limbo champion on skates.

The lowest he's negotiated, without touching the bar, is 40.6cm (16 inches).

If you go skating at the Mackay Leisure Centre you might have seen his agility.

Mr Bartlem remembers the day the rink opened in the 1970s.

The centre had filled to capacity, he said, and he couldn't get in.

"I had to come back a few days later," he said.

Now he tries to hit the rink at least once a week.

Apart from limbo, Mr Bartlem is also proud of his artistic skating abilities, including a spinning action on the floor and cartwheels.

He's tried inline skating, ice-skating and skateboarding but nothing compares to roller skates.

"I make my own," he said. "They're normal sandshoes; I screw on the wheels."

When he's not skating, Mr Bartlem enjoys a game of tennis once a week and skydiving whenever he can.

He's also been a vegetarian since his teens.

"I eat about eight different raw vegetables a night," he said.

The deluge on Sunday didn't worry Mr Bartlem as he celebrated his 75th birthday with family.

"We got about 101mm of rain at home," he said.

Yesterday he enjoyed lunch with his wife Sandra and friends Harry and Pam Macklin at the Northern Beaches Bowls Club.

Mr Macklin will celebrate his 77th birthday tomorrow.

The lunch has become a tradition over the years after the two men started working together in the 1950s at radio station 4MK.

Mr Macklin was a radio announcer and Mr Bartlem a radio technician.

Mr Bartlem was born in Mackay on February 9, 1939. He has three children, 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


Tourist told cops drug seedlings were ‘tomatoes’

Premium Content Tourist told cops drug seedlings were ‘tomatoes’

The chef-turned-horticulturalist decided to ‘give it a go’ growing drugs. He was...

MEGA GALLERY: Every moment of 2020 formal glamour

Premium Content MEGA GALLERY: Every moment of 2020 formal glamour

See the heartwarming photos from 12 school formals from across Mackay and the...

New app shows the 16 signs of suicide this Christmas

Premium Content New app shows the 16 signs of suicide this Christmas

Experts warn this season’s festive cheer could be hiding your loved one’s darkest...