Kostera tradition drives on in Kalamunda

Stuart Kostera Snr and Stuart Kostera Jnr from Kostera's Kalamunda Garage. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au d439239
Stuart Kostera Snr and Stuart Kostera Jnr from Kostera's Kalamunda Garage. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au d439239

A young Charlie Kostera moved to the Perth Hills after World War I and bought the Kalamunda Garage, Bus and Taxi service.

Ninety years later, while the business has evolved since its earlier incarnation, Charlie Kostera would be proud that his business is still serving its loyal customers in all things mechanical.

The Kostera family were also great stalwarts in the community, contributing to public life and actively involved on the council and on many committees and community organisations.

The Kostera name has also been synonymous with the development of the suburb since the early days, with the oval named after Charlie.

The Kostera family moved from Poland to South Australia in the late 1860s before Charlie decided to try his luck in the west and moved to WA in 1925.

He had three sons, Bob, Jack and Geoff.

Bob�s son Stuart took over the family business in the 1970s.

Mr Kostera Snr is now retired but well-known in the community and his son Stuart Jnr now runs and operates the family business on Mead Street.

�Life was tough back then in the Depression when they learned to make things last,� Mr Kostera Snr said.

�I began working at the garage when it was located in Haynes Street, Kalamunda, while I was still at primary school and earned pocket money filling oil bottles and cleaning up and doing odd jobs and maintenance.�

�Mechanics was in my blood and I did an apprenticeship in Perth and then purchased the family business in the �70s.�

His father Bob Kostera worked for Charlie as a bus driver in the family business until the buses were taken over by the MTT (Metropolitan Transport Trust) in 1957.

The company was originally located on Haynes Street, Kalamunda, but in 1989 moved to the next street and while the taxi and bus service closed five decades ago, the mechanical work and tyre fitting and the service station and petrol continued on at the new location.

Mr Kostera Snr said the business opened at a time when it could capture a niche market in performance and motor sport tyres.

The company was often called to work at race meetings at the Perth Motorplex Kwinana and Wanneroo�s Barbagallo Raceway.

�We promoted the product and niche tyre, racing tyres, vintage tyres and people knew they could come to us and we could get them what they needed,� he said.

Mr Kostera Snr said today cars were increasingly more complex and the high quality technical training and expertise needed to repair them is extensive.

�The complexity means they are much safer than they used to be and safety is the business we are in,� Mr Kostera Snr said.

The family tradition with cars and mechanics has continued with his grandson Adrian racing go-carts.