SAMPSON, Peter

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Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2011.

Peter Sampson hitched a ride to the Territory from Kingoonya SA at the age of 16 with a guy driving a Leyland Buffalo roadtrain for Heavy Equipment running Adelaide to Darwin. When they arrived at the Alice his contact at Northern Transport, a guy called Rod who was driving the NT long nose Peterbilt, was still out at Giles. Peter had met Rod when Peter pulled him out of a bog near Coober Pedy. Peter was off-siding to a grader operator and driving a tipper on the main Port Augusta - Alice Springs highway at the time.

Peter decided to continue on with Dave to Darwin to have a look with the intention of returning to the Alice. The Buffalo blew a diff just outside of the Alice delaying the trip as the repair was done on the side of the road. After a stopover at Barrow Creek, Peter was given the chance to drive and drove the Buffalo roadtrain through to Churchills Head.

When they finally arrived in Darwin the owner of Heavy Equipment gave him a job and he started driving roadtrains in the Territory at just 16. His first rig was a Leyland Beaver progressing to the Buffalo.

One of his first jobs was moving a French ADB drilling rig from Port Keats via Daly River to Adelaide River over a bush track that had been made by a dozer. There were many flat tyres from stakes and no road houses so all repairs were done on the side of the track.

Leaving Darwin, Peter worked for Jucor and RPM in the Alice for a while and then to Katherine to work for Buntines where he met his wife of 40 years, Barbara. The roads were all dirt in those days and most were not more than bush tracks. Many trips were made to VRD and outstations such as Pidgeon Hole and Moolooloo. There were no roadhouses and many a feed consisted of rollie poleys (tins with worn off labels) from the tuckerbox. There were no air conditioners, no fridges, no sleeper-cabs and a bed was a swag on the ground.

Most of the work was carting scrubber bulls to the meatworks but during the wet seasons it was repairing the gear. One season rail line was carted to Pine Creek and another was copper ore on the flat beds into Mt Isa.  These were hard days but Noel Buntine was a very fair  boss. It was a fortunate life .