HARMSWORTH, Bill

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Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2002.

Bill began his livestock carrying business in Rockhampton, central Queensland in the early 1950s.  He also carried mill-logs to the local sawmills.  As the business grew he was joined by his younger brother, Ted.

Both men had grown up in a family of teamsters.  Stafford Harmsworth, their father, owned and operated horse, mule and bullock teams carrying wool, timber and general freight before making the move to motorised road transport.

Bill bought his first truck, a new 5-ton Bedford in 1950.  It had a 5-speed gearbox and a valve-powered radio.  This was the first of many Bedfords all of which were fitted with 16' trays.  This truck was used to measure the ramps for the newly established Gracemere Saleyards.  It was standard procedure in those days for the drivers to carry coke bottles full of petrol in the cab of old trucks to get them going again after a 15 minute catnap.....and another bottle of coke with a Bex to get the driver going.  It was 30 mph, on dirt roads at about 7 mpg - seemed to be good going at the time!  1959 saw the first of several semis come into the family.

The brothers moved up to Leyland diesels in the 1960s and continued with this combination until their semi-retirement in the mid 1970s.  Sometimes, one brother would stand on the top of the cab cutting the limbs off overhanging trees to allow room for the stock crates to travel through as the other brother inched the truck foward.  It could take days to travel a hundred miles when the going was rough.  By the end of their driving careers both Bill, and his brother Ted, were stone deaf, the result of almost thirty years in noisy truck cabs over corrugated roads.

Bill and Ted both pioneered many roads into the large cattle properties in the Rockhampton and throughout the wider central Queensland area.  Bill and Ted have now both passed on, but in their latter years they each kept their semi licence just in case they were called in to do a shift or two.  Ted's last truck wa a White Road Commander and Bill's was a little 3 ton Bedford used to cart his horses around.