Tolly Auva’a can often be found at The Tradies playing Housie or enjoying a hamburger with the lot, washing it down with a banana milkshake. He describes both the Woden and Dickson clubs as a second home for his family.
On Feb. 18, his daughters had told him he should be at the Dickson club, and he planned to be, but was exhausted after organising his son’s 21st birthday.
“My kids told me to go to the draw, but by the time it was done I was knackered because I had been up all morning preparing,” recalls Tolly.
He didn’t know much about Adele other than that she was a singer and she shared her name with his first born. It was, in part, because of this that when his kids told him he had won The Tradies HELLO competition to see Adele live in concert, he thought they were having him on.
“I actually thought it was April Fool’s Day because my eldest daughter’s name is Adele,” he says with a chuckle. “I thought my kids were having me on.”
It turned out The Tradies had been trying to contact Tolly for a few days before his daughters saw a Facebook post announcing their dad the winner.
“Because I’m sixty years old, I don’t really follow Adele’s career,” he says starting to chuckle again. “If it was Elvis Presley, you can understand I would be on the wall.”
“But then when I found out more details about the prize,” he continues, “that’s when I was starting to get really, really excited.”
The Mar. 11 trip to Sydney includes accommodation for eight people at Rydges Parramatta, return transport to ANZ Stadium in a stretch Hummer, AND a fully-catered VIP Box at Adele’s concert.
Tolly’s ties with The Tradies span back decades. He worked security at the Dickson club in the 80’s and 90’s, and was a member even before that. Canberra has been home since 1985, after growing up in Samoa then Wellington, and Tolly and his wife raised all seven kids here. These days, his wife, daughters and son-in-law play in the club’s eight-ball pool competition on Wednesday’s.
“All the staff at The Dickson Tradies, they know us, because we’re regular members there,” says Tolly. “It’s like a second home for us to go there and have dinner. Regularly, we play bingo at Woden Tradies then when we finish the Housie at Woden, we come over to The Dickson Tradies because that’s where we always sit down and have something to eat at the café in the late hours. We pretty much do that every week.”
Tolly says he feels like a celebrity walking through the club now, as staff and duty managers stop him to discuss his newfound fame.
“This is like winning the lottery, it’s like one in a million,” he says.
“I would like to thank all those that are involved, especially The Tradies mob, for the prize,” he adds, saying that he wanted to give special thanks to The Tradies staff who put time and effort into finding him to let him know he had won. “They went everywhere trying to track me down.”
But despite being ecstatic with winning the competition, Tolly’s generosity got the better of him.
“All my kids, they love this Adele girl,” he says. “So my kids will go and my wife and I will stay and babysit our grandkids.”
Congratulations to Tolly Auva’a from everyone at The Tradies. We hope his family enjoys their trip to see Adele and he and his wife enjoy their time with the grandkids!