HOBBS, Neville

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Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2009.

Neville Graham Hobbs was born on the 9th February, 1928.  He was an outback coach driver for Murray Valley Coaches, Stateliner and Greyhound Southern from 1946 to 1985.

Neville started his career in 1948 driving a Murray Valley Coach for Doug Johnson and Mel Freeman to Alice Springs.  In later years Murray Valley Coaches became Stateliner and finally Greyhound Southern.  Neville did over 550 trips up the Stuart Highway in all kinds of weather until 1985 when a serious leg injury ended his years of coach driving.

During the early days on the dirt highway, Neville says it was possible to travel all day and not to see another car or truck on the road.  Neville was the first coach driver to run regular tours to Alice Springs via Ayers Rock with stopovers at Port Augusta, Coober Pedy, Victory Downs, Mulga Park and Curtin Springs on the way.

After reaching his destination, Neville would conduct tours around the township of Alice Springs to Stanley Chasm, and to the Old Telegraph Station among other attractions.  Once, on a trip to Coober Pedy, a circlip broke on one of the rear wheels.  After cleaning the bearings with diesel, a new clip was hammered square on the front bumper from a piece of No 8 fencing wire.  The coach made it all the way to Alice Springs before more conventional repairs could take place.  On yet another occasion, a tie-rod broke and using the good old fashioned bush ingenuity he was known for, Neville repaired it with a mulga stick which got him to Victory Downs where he used a fencing star-dropper for more 'permanent' repairs.

Neville would never drive past another motorist who had broken down on the road.  He recalls an incident where he came across a station truck loaded with horses going to Kingoonya race meeting.  Unable to fix it, Neville towed it behind his coach.

He did so for 25 miles, arriving at the race course in time for the races, much to amusement of the waiting crowd.

Neville Hobbs was recognized for his contribution as a 'Legend of the Outback' at a function at Arkaroola in 2002.