Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2011.
John Donnelly was born 24.4.1943, at Liverpool Private Hospital and lived at Campbelltown NSW till he was nearly 12 years old. Then the family moved to Merrylands NSW where John became involved with the garbage contractor and learned to drive trucks helping on their routes of a night. The first truck was a 1948 Ford AK55 International which had a four speed gear box with 2 speed Joey Box. He obtained his truck licence when he was 21.
John’s first truck driving job was for Alcan Aluminium delivering to sites and factories around Sydney from 1962 to 1966. Then he worked on the garbage run from 1966 to 1971.Next he worked for N and I Jones Transport carting timber and doors in and around Sydney, ACT and Newcastle till 1973.At this time John had 2 ½ years off work when he crushed two discs in his back which were removed in late 1975. On recovery he resumed work driving a 345 series paper truck to Dubbo and Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains and Coonamble in the northwest of NSW.
In late 1977 he started driving for T.O.P. Transport at Enfield NSW running Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Whyalla and Whyalla to north Qld with steel via the Birdsville Track. The last 3 years was running Sydney to Perth in a Scania and an Atkinson.
The first truck John drove for T.O.P Transport was a cab-over single drive Man with a six speed splitter box on the column. In 1984 he gave the road away and drove locally for T.O.P Transport so he could be with his wife and new born son. In 1986 their daughter was born.
He remembers one time when there were 4 drivers travelling to Perth and they pulled into Nullarbor Station to have one shout each and were still there till closing. John woke at 3 am and tried to wake the others as they were 1 day behind. He could not rouse them at all and he took off. However he turned the wrong way and went 100 kms in the wrong direction. He turned around and found the others at the Border village.
In 1989 he started with Metromix Transport driving an R-model Mack tri-axle tipping trailer. Then he went into an R-model truck with three axle dog combo. In 1995 John lost his licence for 7 months but rejoined the company in July 1996. He has been there ever since. Currently he is driving an A2005 Vision Truck and quad dog combo.
John’s favourite truck was the R-model Mack truck and dog combination with 300Hp and nine speed Mack gear box. Over the years he has driven in NSW, Qld, Vic, SA and WA.