BURGESS, Margaret

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Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2005.

Born in Murwillumbah, NSW, a daughter of Jack and Kit Ducat, Beaudesert dairy farmers, Margaret was educated at Beaudesert Primary and High Schoos. Growing up on the farm, Margaret learnt to tackle all tasks set before her.

On moving to Bundaberg in 1965 she married Graham Burgess who was running a fledgling tourist coach service called Bundaberg Coach Tours.  Margaret threw herself energetically into the business soon becoming a fully qualified coach captain and tour operator. She found herself taking tourists to all parts of Australia as well as organising and hostessing tours to New Zealand, Norfolk Island and Tasmania.  Margaret took up the task whole-heartedly and did not expect anyone to carry any of the `load' for her just because she was female. She was not backward in donning a pair of overalls to crawl under a coach to grease it. She knew the coaches intimately and her ability to hear, sense and identify malfunctions of mechanical things both amazed and angered mechanics. Margaret was, without doubt, one of the first female long distance tour coach drivers who performed all the tasks expected of any driver in a male dominated industry.

Margaret's first tour to Alice Springs and Ayers Rock was in 1976; a safari tour with students from Kedron High School in Brisbane. She encountered dirt roads to Ayers Rock and the old camping grounds at the Rock. She drove in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and from the Flinders Ranges to Cooktown and all parts in between with the same ease and professionalism.  Margaret was a familiar figure negotiating her 49-seater Denning GM coach, changing tyres on the side of the road or smiling to a passenger complaining about no milk or sugar in their motel room.

Margaret gave up driving coaches in 1988 when the business was sold. This however was not the end of her driving career. She soon took on an Australia Post mail run over rough dirt roads, clocking up over 1000 kilometres a week, a job she still does to this day. (2005)

Coach captains were often referred to as 'Pretty Truckies' by truck drivers who made fun of the smart uniforms and strict timetables adhered to by coach captains. Margaret qualifies for this title in more ways than one.