GREENSILL, Alan

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Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2007.

A “nightmare” three week trip hauling 12 ton of perishables from Brisbane to Townsville in 1947 in an ex-US Army 6x6 GMC did not deter 17 year old Alan Greensill from becoming part of the road transport industry.

There was a rail strike in Queensland at the time and young Alan “scored” himself a job driving for Jack Richards. Travelling alongside mate, Frank Foster, in his Diamond T980, they headed north. There was no real road, so they went via Emerald and Charters Towers. It was hard going on the black soil.

The Burdekin River was flooded and they got stuck there. Then he did a differential in Charters Towers so had to come home on one. He picked up several tons of wool at Peak Downs and got within 60 km of Kilcoy before the GMC finally stopped. His brother Fred came out to help and it was then Alan decided to go into the road transport business with him. Alan reports that no-one made any money out of that trip (other than the tyre companies) but he did get a bonus in that he later married the boss’s sister, Ena who went on to be his “Tower of Strength”.

Alan and Fred formed the partnership of Greensill Bros Pty Ltd in 1949 and they worked on cut, snig and haul. In the early days they cut natural hoop pine using nothing but a cross-cut saw, axe and crowbar and then used cant hooks and muscle power to load the trucks. It was hard physical work. The youngest boy in the family of 16, Alan says,

"It was tough. There were few freebies; we had to work hard on the dairy farm so we could all eat. Our mother was amazing. She was always working on the farm, bearing and raising children but somehow we were always well-dressed and fed, and grew up with a strong sense of family and a good work ethic”.

Fred sold his share of the business to Alan’s son Denis in the 1970s and the duo built the business to what it is today. Comprising of some 30 trucks and 40 pieces of Caterpillar machinery, Greensills still specialises in cut, snig and haul, only these days, the drivers are in air-conditioned Kenworths and only get out to chain on the loads.