BRUDENELL, Eric

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

Eric Isaac Brudenell was born at Malmsbury, Victoria on the 2nd March 1925 to Ada and well-known bullock trainer and driver, Jack Brudenell.

Eric grew up in the country driving horses from the age of 10 and at 15 driving two Clydesdales to a stump jump plough. At 16, he was driving a solid, rubber tyred, 1918, two ton, International.

He was working for G.L. Hubbard’s charcoal burning plant at Steel’s Creek, Victoria. Due to the rationing of petrol in World War II Charcoal burning plants produced the charcoal which, when combined with water, produced the gas for trucks, taxis, commercial vehicles and some private cars. Vehicles were fitted with charcoal burning units which were as large at the average washing machine of today. Eric can remember two brands that were used as being Wishart and Electrolux.

In 1942 Eric put his age up from 17 to 18 and volunteered to join the Royal Australian Army. On completion of training Eric’s driving skills were recognized and he was transferred to Darley Transport Unit as a driver/trainer. He was then transferred to the Tank Battalion at Singleton, NSW where he drove General Lee tanks.

Eric was transferred to Darwin in 1944 with the Nine Aust. Docks Op. Coy. where he was ships’ winches’ operator. At the end of World War II all machinery and equipment had to be moved by road from Darwin to Alice Springs for disposal by auction. One truck was not drivable and required towing. Eric and his best army mate, Eric Humphrey, were assigned to tow this truck to Alice Springs. He’s never forgotten it.  The trip took four days and the tow vehicle burned four gallons of oil. The smoke made it difficult to see the vehicle being towed. Fortunately their expert driving skills kept them with the convoy of approximately 50 trucks.

Following the war years Eric was always involved in cars and trucks. In 1972 he was joint founder of Sellwood Interstate Transport. They had six, 1972, 1924 Mercedes Benz prime-movers with Fruehauf Refrigerated semi-trailer vans. Eric drove the Melbourne, to Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide routes.