Ian Grunert was born on 2 October, 1954, somewhere deep in the bowels of Richmond. This sickly looking boy with red hair and freckles was the second child of Ernie and Aileen Grunert. Their first born was sister Julie. The Grunert family were nice people, but couldn’t work out what they had done wrong to deserve this strange red bundle of joy.
Grunny attended Richmond Primary and soon his reddish appearance became the butt of teasing by the other kids. His white sensitive skin was allergic to the sun and so he was required to wear a large straw hat all year round and wear clothing similar to the “elephant man” in summer. When I first saw the long haired Grunny at the Old Guv I mistook him for a weird red headed girl until I got up close and realised what stood before me.
Everyone at the Old Guv loved Grun because he wasn’t nasty (like the others), but he did have some strange habits. For example, every Friday morning sticking the finger down the throat and doing a quick chunder into the Intertype wash basin and dancing half naked on the front bar at the Rex Hotel and on the tables at the Old Guv Cabarets whilst throwing beer nuts at the bosses.
His Dad the late Ernie Grunert was a wonderful old wharfie and his Mum Aileen was and still is a beautiful person. He barracked for Westies and one of his cobbers was Leon Grosser. He married wife Kaye and they had a son Leigh and the young family lived at Plympton, just off Bray Street.
Apart from the chundering and dancing Ian had some great qualities. He could sniff out a bullshit artist in five seconds flat and was deeply suspicious of anyone promoted to the “Log Cabin” especially a bloke known only as “Ankles”. That made Grun a great Union rep. and he helped a multitude of the Old Guv workers over the years.
Meggsy was an excellent Intertype operator as was close mate Graham “Sleepy” Mutrie. They have been very good mates and drinking buddies for the past 40 years.
Ian was always cool in a crisis, I remember once when he had a massive hot metal squirt on his Intertype. The molten lead flew straight up to the ceiling and came down right on Grun’s head. He did not bat an eyelid, luckily, his very long hair and Friday morning hangover saved the day.
Mr. Grunert we thank you for your generosity to the Old Guv Legends and especially for being our mate. Grun you are a LEGEND.