On May 17 former Dunbogan resident Gordon Campbell will earn his OBE.
“That’s ‘Over Bloody Eighty’,” chuckled Gordon.
Nothing too unusual about that. Plenty of Camden Haven’s residents are octogenarians. What is unusual about Gordon is his passion for saving people a small fortune on their barbecue and camping gas. He is on a crusade which began when he and wife Barbara became grey-nomads in 2014.
Gordon lost his wife Val to breast cancer in 2007. No matter where he travels, Gordon ensures he contacts the Camden Haven Courier annually to publish a touching in memoriam notice for Val.
Gordon and Barbara met in 2009. Becoming webmasters to help fellow travellers and barbecue enthusiasts save money was a learning curve for the pair, despite being reasonably tech-savvy. The pair met online and held a long distance relationship, Barbara lived in Melbourne and Gordon in Dunbogan, until they sold-up and became grey nomads.
Barbara is an astute record-keeper and kept track of their expenses. Her spreadsheets showed the discrepancy of gas prices around the country.
“The price difference between towns is incredible. It ranges from $11.99 for a 9kg refill at Williamtown, NSW, to $82.50 for an 8.5kg swap at Bamaga, Queensland.
“Admittedly, the cost of freight to Bamaga is pretty pricey. However re-sellers there are still making $20 a bottle profit on an essential product.”
Motorists and travellers are always keen for a good deal on essential items. For petrol there is the FuelCheck website which lists the best prices when people type in their postcode. Until Gordon and Barbara put their energy into it, there was nothing detailing the best gas bottle refill or swap prices. The Campbells started a Facebook group, BBQ Gas Bottle Refills, which quickly attracted 4,500 members.
“With so much information coming in, we knew we needed a better way to share the information,” Gordon said.
Gordon and Barbara, who now live in Port Macquarie, dipped into their retirement savings to set up a site where shoppers, travellers or anyone in need of gas, can type in a postcode to bring up a map detailing the best gas prices in that area. The website is gasbottlerefills.com. The site launched just after Gordon’s 79th birthday and has taken off like a rocket.
“We reckon we’ll have 70,000 hits by my 80th birthday,” Gordon said. “With over 3,000 gas re-sellers listed, visitors to the website are raving about how much money they are saving. Mind you, Camden Haven locals don’t have too much to get excited about, nor those in Port Macquarie. How can a servo near Newcastle Airport charge $11.99 for a 9kg refill when, in this area, the best price is double that?”
Gordon and Barbara hope their website will help people save money and drive price change in the gas industry.