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Sharine Milne

Aitkenvale, North Queensland (including north west)

R.H.D. Classic Supplies & Services is a Townsville motorbike mechanic shop with a difference. With one of only a handful of female bike mechanics in Queensland, R.H.D also helps rehabilitate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sufferers, trains TAFE and school students and modifies motorbikes for riders with disabilities.

My name is Sharine Milne, affectionately known as Spanner. I own and operate R.H.D. Classic Supplies and Services, the motorcycle enthusiasts' shop located in Aitkenvale, Townsville.

Being a female in a male-dominated field has probably been the hardest challenge. I did 10 years in hospitality before turning to mechanics. My daughter was 6 at the time and said, "Mummy, I don't see you anymore". R.H.D. took me on as pre‑vocational student and I loved every minute of it.

Our family comes first and for us the business is a family. Some days you'll even see us fight like siblings.

I don't really think it's ever been a 9 to 5 job; when you love something it never really is.

I get all of my advice and ideas from those that are around me. Every single person is unique, their requirements are different which is one of the reasons why I love my industry so much.

I really didn't think I was boss material for a very long time, prior to owning the shop, and then I realised that there's no such thing as boss material, it's whatever you're passionate about.

R.H.D was originally established by a male mechanic to provide flexibility as he looked after 2 children, 1 with a disability. Its transition began upon employing a female seeking a complete career change, from hospitality to mechanics. Sharine Milne, affectionately known as 'Spanner', started out with R.H.D as a pre-vocational TAFE student. Sharine went from apprentice to workshop manager and finally to the new owner, all in less than 10 years.

R.H.D now prides itself on the ability to 'push the boundaries' and be so much more than just a motorbike mechanic shop. Sharine helps PTSD sufferers, along with customers, by running a series of organised events, night rides and charity events.

Given Sharine's experience and training, sharing knowledge is at the heart of everything R.H.D does, including taking on TAFE and school students. R.H.D's motorbike mechanic training has been recognised with numerous nominations for the Queensland Training Awards as a small employer. It has also been the recipient of the Motor Trades Association Queensland Community Award.

R.H.D is also known for modifying bikes for disabled riders so they can regain some of their mobility and independence. The business has expanded as technology progresses, and they've also grown their online presence. Determining and servicing customer needs, continual learning and advancing skill sets has been the key to R.H.D's success. Sharine comes together with her team and customers to share ideas, techniques and love for what has become a lifestyle and so much more than just a mode of transport.

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