Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2005For John Nyhus it all began when he was 13 with a job loading trucks on school holidays. He’d travel with the drivers to the markets in Melbourne and along the way they’d teach him how to drive. He was raised at Lake Boga, Swan Hill.
At 14, he worked as a loader for G.C Scown & Son. Nobody worried too much about a licence and John continued his driving lessons on his trips to Melbourne. At 16, a truck he was driving broke a spring hanger and rolled. John suffered a fractured spine and was paralysed for six weeks leaving him with a permanent disability. Since then, John’s needed a walking stick, but it’s never affected his driving ability.
In 1952, he went for his first trip to Sydney, driving 2-up in a 1950 single-drive Ford with a single-axle trailer. It took two days. John got his licence at 18 and worked for Bails Transport, driving Swan Hill - Melbourne. His first trip to Brisbane, in 1956, was in a REO F22 Gold Comet. John started with Antill Ranger in about 1958 and held this job right up until his recent retirement. Antill Ranger was one of the first companies to operate a Melbourne - Sydney shuttle. Driving Commer Knockers, also an Australian transport icon, the operators were allowed 12 hours to travel from Melbourne to Gundagai where they would then have a ten hour break before returning to Melbourne.
Antill Ranger bought their first B Model Macks in 1960 and moved into big time trucking. In 1962 Mayne Nickless took over Antill Ranger and John stayed on the Melbourne-Tumblong relay until 1973. During this time he developed a legendary skill with Mack’s two-stick box and it became his job to test new drivers.
John spent two years as a linehaul supervisor. When Mayne Nickless restructured and split into different divisions he went back on the road as a driver for Railex. After two years there, John switched to Jetspress and shared a cab-over Kenworth with Bob Sealey running Melbourne to Brisbane. Bob and John, (still good mates) did alternate trips for five years until Jetspress subcontracted that route. Jetspress restructured and became Jetsroad. John worked for them until his retirement. His wide-ranging experience enabled him to contribute much towards making Jetsroad the successful operation it is today thus making it easier for drivers in today’s much more modern transport industry.