DIONISIO, Joseph

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

Joe was introduced to the Australian transport industry in 1959, two weeks after arriving in the country from Austria where he had trained and worked as a blacksmith.

He obtained a job with Resch’s Brewery, delivering beer in the Sydney metro area. His first day on the job he lost the bumper bar off his truck but it got better.

Joe says the Sydney traffic taught him to be assertive and not to be hesitant. His next job was a working on a bottle drive, collecting beer bottles from the scout centres and rubbish tips. On one of a number of driving jobs, he met Spud Murphy, who later had a roadhouse in Pimba. Spud expounded on the adventure of the outback and sowed the seed for Joe’s long love affair with the dirt road.

On arriving in Coober Pedy in 1969, Joe began carting fuel from Adelaide for the expanding opal mining community. He progressed from there to the Darwin run with his own truck, subbing for Ansett Freight Express. He continued until the road was sealed. Joe began driving to the west and added three trucks to his fleet. The road to the west was easier but lacking the variety, colour and adventure of the route to the north. He began to do less driving and started to spend more time in organizing the business and maintaining and repairing the trucks. He was sub-contracting and moving frozen and general goods. It became harder to get experienced drivers. Rates were dropping and fuel increasing so Joe decided to gradually wind down the business.

The south road was the most important, memorable part of Joe’s working life. The knowledge of his having provided a very valuable service, under sometimes difficult conditions, gave him great satisfaction.