Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2006.Thomas (Tom) Fountain started in road transport in the early 1950s operating a garage servicing cars and trucks. In those days he had an old petrol Commer, an ex-army dodge and also included in the fleet was an AEC Mudlark 4 x 4 which had a 7.7 litre diesel engine. With the AEC he started running interstate and did he fair share of “border hopping’.
During the shearing strike the trucks would leave Ipswich and head west to Illfracombe and Longreach to load bales of wool from Rodney Downs and Tallyrand. These trips would sometimes take up to seven weeks before returning to Ipswich.
On these trips Tom would always take a supply of spare parts with him as there were times the Commer would “drop” a valve. Be it on the roadside, in a ramshackle shed or in someone’s backyard, it would be off with the head and sump, replace a piston and valve, reassemble and carry on. In those days Thomas was not able to stop in some of the towns he passed through unless he wanted the local shearers to cut his ropes and probably give him a give “working over” as well.
As time went by roads and trucks improved. A Commer Knocker and another AEC were included in the fleet. This was the time that oil research started in Queensland, so the AEC and the Commer went off to Laura in the far north of Queensland, working with Western Oilfield Trucking. Then came along the B61 Macks, reliability plus. Business expanded with oil shift work, most of which was in remote areas. During the mid 1960s the trucks started to run to Darwin as well. The Fountain Transport depot was located at Brassall Motors at the Esk and Toowoomba intersection at Blacksoil.
There was not a time that Thomas did not own a truck. Sadly, he lost his life in his R-model Mack on the 15th October 1985 doing what he loved best.
His dedication to the industry has earned Thomas his place in the Wall of Fame.