Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2010.
John is still working part time as an owner-operator carting, grain, fertilizer, sand, gravel (quarry products) and spoil from earth moving works. The business was commenced in 1927 by his grandfather, Dave Buttfield, using a 1926 Chevrolet. John’s father, Arthur “Ginger” Buttfield, took over using various trucks.
John left school, became involved as an employee and partner of the business in early 1964 driving a 1956 Commer Knocker, the same year his grandfather retired. His memory of the Commer was that it would bog badly due to it being a road truck and not really suitable for off road use carrying limestone for the Lime Kiln. It had a 50/50 lazy axle and always had to be shoved with a loader to get it moving.
He remembers that most roads were corrugated dirt with only the central highway bituminized and that loads were vastly larger for the vehicle size than today. If it fitted that was the load. When the Commer was sold a series of vehicles followed: Mercedes L330, International RD F195, Ford D850, Atkinson (English Version), Mercedes 2624, Mercedes 2224 V8, and finally his "Dream Machine," a 1974 Kenworth K125 which is his current vehicle and most favourite. He also has a Kenworth K123 for harvest use only.
He will always be remembered for his jovial personality and sociable nature (likes to talk). John has been a member of the Mid North Carriers Association and Owners Drivers Association of S.A. John and his wife Nola are members of the Austin 7 Club of S.A. Inc., the Adelaide Hills Motor Restorers Club and the local club, Maitland Auto Preservation Society.
John has had many experiences over the years. The most worrying was when the road gave way dropping his Mercedes which was loaded with gypsum. NO SLEEP THAT NIGHT and lots of hand shovelling to unload next morning. It had to be towed out with a D6 Caterpillar dozer. Now he laughs about it but back then he would have cried. The most upsetting thing was when he was moving bunker grain at Port Giles silos and one of the workers he knew fell and died.
During his working life the changes in vehicles have gone from the basic to all computer controlled, wearing shorts and shoes to Hi Vis clothing, helmets and sunblock. He has made many friends both through his work and social activities.