FREESTONE, Paul

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

Paul is a self-made, first generation transport operator. He had no established family business, support or money. What he did have was a dream, passion, youth and a great work ethic.  

It all started in 1966; Paul had a part time job while at school working at the Ampol Petrol Station on Keilor Road, Essendon. At the time this was the main road out of Melbourne. One day a B61 Mack stopped for fuel, the owner driver was Lindsay Ellis. He was carting Nasco Holden accessories bound for Townsville via Tharbogang (Griffith). Lindsay became a mentor and introduced Paul to a new world full of adventure, hard work and hope.

Paul gained his articulated licence in S.A. aged 16, and then worked in the mines. Later he purchased his first truck, a furniture van. After a few different trucks working for Express Freight, local and interstate, and hauling interstate for Pub Squash and later fuel for Mayne Nickless,  Paul and Chris purchased their first new truck in 1976. It was a Ford Louisville LNT 9000. Trying to save money they did not fit a sleeper (big mistake). Paul made 5 trips a month to Kalgoorlie and Kambalda hauling an LP Gas tanker. Paul managed to swap this truck for their first COE KW. It was a U.S. import with torsion bar suspension on an aluminium chassis.

In 1981 Paul and Chris purchased their first new COE KW Aerodyne. This truck was the first truck in their livery, (maroon, white and black) with every possible chrome accessory. Late in 1983 they were approached by Startrak Express (formally called Multigroup) to purchase 3 Scanias and were offered their first written contract. The Scanias were quickly replaced with 3 W Model KWs with lots of chrome. At the time the industry commented that Paul’s immaculate truck presentation could not possibly continue on a fleet basis. Thanks to the team of dedicated line haul operators over the years, they are proud to say that the tradition of immaculate presentation continues. Today Paul and Chris operate a fleet of 68 trucks ranging from a B61 Mack, 1964  COE Pete, 1969 COE KW, KW 900s and SARs, Western Stars FX models and of course their first passion, the 379 Peterbilt.

Paul was always an owner operator. Chris always worked and the industry is tough when starting out. Clients did not always pay, breakdowns could never be budgeted for, but bills still had to be paid all while growing the company and raising 2 beautiful girls.   Chris can remember the good old bad days when Paul left home in the KW with $5, fresh sandwiches and a thermos praying that the truck would stay together for another week. Memories of the road in the 70s include leg warmers, struggling to change gears up hills, very fast down hills, camaraderie and special friendships. It was work all week, home Saturday, wash and service the truck, lunch Sunday then off to do it all again.

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