VERSATILE: Gympie Regional Council's Brian Hayes has split his 40-year local government career with a music one in which he runs his own YouTube channel and website, and teaches globally.
VERSATILE: Gympie Regional Council's Brian Hayes has split his 40-year local government career with a music one in which he runs his own YouTube channel and website, and teaches globally. Troy Jegers

Gympie council manager by day, YouTube guru by night

FRESH out of school in 1979, Brian Hayes found himself in the enviable position of working for one of two prestigious companies: the National Bank or Widgee Shire Council.

It was a 40-year-career-making decision, and he said it came down to one simple fact about banks.

"Armed hold-ups... were a big thing at the time,” he said.

"I'm thinking it's pretty calm at the council, (so) that's it.”

As it turns out for Gympie Regional Council's governance manager, calm had its own quirks, which he quickly learned on his first day.

Gympie Counciler Brian Hayes
Brian Hayes celebrates 40 years with Gympie's councils. Troy Jegers

"Back in those days people could bring in a dingo scalp - dried, hopefully - present it at the front counter in a hessian bag and council officer had to confirm 'yep, that's a dingo scalp',” Mr Hayes said.

"They'd get $20.

"They could do a similar thing with pig snouts.

"And on day one a number of people did come in.”

On top of this Mr Hayes found himself carting up stairs tins of the herbicide 2, 4, 5-T - more commonly called Agent Orange.

First Council meeting after the 2016 election. Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times
Brian Hayes (front) at a 2016 council meeting. Renee Albrecht

It foreshadowed a diversity which has played a key part in keeping Mr Hayes in a career which spans three councils in Widgee Shire, Cooloola Shire, and Gympie Regional, as well as two amalgamations, five mayors and five chief executive officers.

"It's been a versatile life,” he said.

"My first day was 'wow'... it's never been come to work and be bored.”

There is, however, another piece to his career puzzle.

"Why have I lasted 40 years?

"Probably because I've had an equally successful music career on the side,” Mr Hayes said.

Ipswich Show on Saturday.
Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times
A guitar is likely to be Brian Hayes' instrument of choice if he ever had to head to a deserted island. Rob Williams

He is well known musical talent who owns about 20 instruments, starting with the guitar at age nine, but like most parents he cannot pinpoint a favourite.

"If I had to go to a deserted island I'd probably bring the guitar... but the saxophone has been a big part of my life.”

Mr Hayes has his own YouTube channel and website and regularly teaches music across the globe.

"Last night I taught two local students here, one adult and one high school kid, and then did an hour Skype lesson with a lady on flute who lives at Dalby,” he said.

Saxophone, drums and guitar
Brian Hayes plays five different saxophones. Zoonar RF

He also teaches an engineer in Johannesburg alto saxophone online every week, and a 100 per cent sight impaired 25-year-old in Atlanta Georgia who found him on YouTube and asked for lessons.

Perhaps the only thing which rivals his musical versatility is his council one.

Over four decades he has worked in multiple finance jobs, including accounts payable, and even taken the council's meeting minutes.

He also found himself thrust into the job he tried to avoid all those years ago - cashiering.

"My greatest fear, here we go - I'm on the front counter.”

And in all that time he has never been based anywhere but the Mary St council building. He was also the council's first ever IT manager, and over his career has had a front row seat to the technological changing of the guard.

The Gympie Regional Council office in Mary Street, formerly the Bank Of New South Wales, has been earmarked to go on the Queensland Heritage Register.
Photo The Gympie Times
This building has been home to Brian Hayes' office for 40 years.

"The year before I started the council put in their first computer system. Ironically, it was in the room I'm now sitting in and filled up that room.

"It was like three family-sized refrigerators and had the total computing capacity of about 1/10,000th of what we've got in our mobile phones now.”

It has let him watch the change from six typists manually compiling the region's rates notices, to it becoming a push-button exercise.

"I came in at a really interesting time.”