DAVIS, John (Wes)

03_davis_john_wes_1 03_davis_john_wes_2

Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2003.

John Davis, more commonly known as Wes, left school to drive a Bedford parcel  van for a Melbourne agent for McColls Transport.  One of the drivers, Tony Langridge, taught young Wes to load, stack, rope and tarp and at just 14 took him to Sydney for the first time.

On the way back Tony allowed him to drive the Leyland Beaver from Wodonga to Wangaratta.  Wes thought he was King of the Road and just a year later he got his licence.  He worked at various jobs around Melbourne; carting wool and glass for Blakistons, tyres and rubber products for Olympic Tyres and Shell oil and fuel products for W. Cross & Sons.

At the age of 21, Wes started interstate driving for Harvey & Bilson of Kensington, Vic. driving an R180 to Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide until the firm went broke.  He then took a job with K.L. McKenzie carting from Melbourne to Forbes, Parkes, Dubbo, Sydney, Adelaide and Lithgow until a job became available with K.W. Thomas on the Melbourne to Sydney shuttle.  He drove a Leyland Beaver, doing a change-over at Tumblong.  When the shuttle work finished he went back to K.L. McKenzie driving the same Leyland Comet 100 and then a Powergiant Dodge with a 471 GM and ZF gearbox.  Wes changed jobs when a position became available with Alan Hancock from Five Dock in Sydney.  This time he drove a 634 Diamond T carting to Melbourne with soap products and returning with a load to Sydney for Oppermans Transport.

Wes ceased driving interstate in 1963 and spent three years with A.R. Neal at Fairfield, carting paper products for APM from Broadford to Morwell.  He then worked for Woodruff Dairies carting milk in tankers from Trafalgar, Darnum and Archies Creek to Port Melbourne.  After 12 years of this he started with John Kilpatrick (son of Murray Kilpatrick of Liquid Cartage fame) on tippers.  Wes estimates he has covered approx. 2,500,000 miles.  In his retirement, with old friends Darby Drape and Bob Sealey, Wes organises reunions for truckies from the 40s, 50s and 60s in Victoria.  He does much to preserve our trucking heritage for the benefit of future generations.