NITSCHKE, Sylvia

Sylvia Nitschke Roadtrains

Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2005

Sylvia Lenore was born in Brisbane in 1944. In her earliest years she lived with her mum and dad on a farm near the mill at Woongoolba. When the family later moved to Warwick in 1949 Sylvia worked at various jobs for several years.

It was while working at a cafe at Ballandean she met Ken Duff, a road transport driver. After they married the Duffs moved to Mt Isa and Sylvia became one the few women who held a roadtrain licence. Sylvia used to drive the roadtrains before she had her licence and when she drove through any towns she would pull her hat down so she wouldn’t be recognised. 

One day when the copper from Boulia was delivering a message regarding a death in her husband’s family, he said to Sylvia, “By the way, you had better get your licence endorsed next time you’re in town.” Then he laughed and said, “I saw you driving through town with your hat pulled down.”

Sylvia and Ken drove roadtrains in the early 60s through to the 70s for various truck companies and station owners including Marion Downs, Ballantynes Cattle Hauler, Nicholson Haulage and Willeroo & Manbulloo Ltd. They travelled from their base in Mt Isa to remote stations like Marion Downs and Soudan Station, coping with conditions and hardships which many of us today  find extremely hard to imagine.
 
Sylvia and Ken went their separate ways in 1985 and in May 1993 she married old friend Vern Nitschke and went to live at Park Ridge. They were active members of the Historic Commercial Vehicle Association (Qld) Inc., regularly helping with shows and events. Sylvia always had a deep respect and a real appreciation for road transport.

Sadly, in 2003, she was diagnosed as having myeloid leukaemia. Sylvia passed away the following March at the age of just sixty years.