Commemorating “Laurie”


Laurence Norman TOPP, known as “Laurie” to most, “Unc” to his many nieces and nephews, and “Toppy” to a lot of his friends, was born on 16 September 1948. Laurie was the third child for Norman and Biddie Topp, a little brother for Dorothea and Frank. Over the next fifteen years, Laurie gained seven more siblings – Danny, Gemma, Pat, Barbara, Sharyn, Robyn and Chris.

Laurie grew up on the farm at Flagstone Creek where he enjoyed helping out with whatever jobs needed doing. He attended Flagstone Creek State School until Scholarship, before attending St Joesph’s College Toowoomba for high school. Laurie boarded at the Helidon Criterion Hotel during his high school years and caught the McCafferty’s bus to Toowoomba each day.

When he was just 15, Laurie commenced a mechanical apprenticeship at Agricultural Requirements (AR) in Gatton, and that’s where his love of International tractors and machinery started. Laurie retired from AR when he was 62, showing such dedication to one employer for 47 years. Laurie was well known by farmers throughout the Lockyer Valley, and beyond, for his mechanical expertise and knowledge, and especially for his skill at repairing hay balers. On arrival at the recent 75 year anniversary of Agricultural Requirements, Laurie was welcomed by well-wishers, previous customers, current and former employees, and managers, confirming what an impact Laurie had on so many people’s lives, and the respect and high regard people had for him.

From 2005 onwards, Laurie actively participated in the Lockyer Antique Motor Association (LAMA), enjoying many outings, firstly in his Landrover and then in his XA Ford Falcon.

Laurie not only solved the mechanical problems of tractors, but also had a keen interest in collecting and restoring them. He enjoyed many tractor treks, across the countryside, with his mates.

Last year, Laurie was presented with a certificate from the International Harvester Club of Australia for 20 years of continuous service. As well as specializing in International machinery, Laurie collected and restored an impressive collection of IH tractors.

Laurie, described aptly by a good friend as an “Extra Ordinary Ordinary Man (an EXTRAORDINARY ORDINARY Man) passed away in the early hours of Wednesday 13 March.

Rest easy, Laurie. Your work here is done.

Contributed by Laurie Topp’s family