BIELENBERG, John

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Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2010.

John Bielenberg was born and raised in Longreach. He left school to work with his father who had a small business servicing sheep and cattle stations south of Longreach to Windorah about 320 km. away. 

He was keen to drive and was soon in a 1934 model Studebaker tray top with a wooden cab. It had pull down roller blinds to keep out wind and rain. With a payload of five tons the average speed was about 30 km. per hour. The roads were all dirt and very dusty. The load would be timber, fuel in drums, fencing material and general station supplies. In the shearing season there were thousands of bales of wool to go to the rail heads. Mateship was great in this era and trucks would travel together to facilitate the opening and closing of gates and to share a campfire.

John joined the army in 1942 and did four years service in Australia and overseas until released from service in 1946. He was home only a few months when his father passed away prematurely aged 59. John had a younger brother and five sisters all living at home with their mother. The youngest was only eight.

Late in 1946 John, aged 24 and brother Alan, 17, became partners trading as Bielenberg Brothers Carriers, Longreach. The business used International trucks for many years with good results, but changed to Mack in 1964 for triple roadtrain work. John’s favourite truck was a 1967 R-model Flintstone Mack for reliability and rugged construction. He taught a lot of young men to drive this one.

In 1960 the business name was changed to Longreach Transport Company Pty Ltd. John witnessed many changes in road transport with through loading in double deck crates, sealed roads, huge advances in truck technology and tubeless tyres.

John married in 1955 and he and his wife Phyllis had four sons. John retired in 1982 selling his interest in the business to his eldest son David who is still operating a livestock transport business from the original depot. John and his wife Phyllis moved to Bundaberg. John was cremated in Bundaberg and his ashes were interred in the Longreach Cemetery. John was always called Uncle by his friends and clients. He was a member of L.T.A.Q. and, for a time, of the Longreach Rotary Club.