Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2012.
Robert (Bob) Barnsley started his association with the trucking industry while on a working holiday round Australia with some mates. He started off carting timber in the Kennedy-Tully area of North Queensland and after several other jobs started work for Vestey's driving a body truck on Waterloo Station in the Northern Territory. After returning to the Toowoomba area he drove a Commer Knocker TS3 for Burt Iseppi hauling livestock from Toowoomba saleyards to Beaudesert.
From January 1962 to January 1968 Bob served in the regular army driving all manner of vehicles and machinery through various postings including New Guinea. On his discharge Bob gained employment with Seismic Supply International driving a cab-over Mack from Alice Springs to remote oil exploration sites in the Gibson Desert. He recalls many funny and “downright” annoying times were had during those years including being bogged for days on end. At one stage, after running out he resorted to smoking tea leaves. Getting back to Alice and that first pack of cigarettes was a relief. It was while he was in Alice Springs he met his future wife, Carolyn.
Bob joined the Shell Company of Australia in 1968 as a roadtrain driver on the Darwin-Alice Springs run driving Atkinson eight and ten wheel body trucks usually towing two or three trailers. Driving for Shell was the beginning of an ongoing friendship with fellow drivers Graham (Curly) Milsom, Dave Day, Peter Richie and Ted (Two Bob) Chellingsworth.
After Cyclone Tracy, Bob’s family never returned to Darwin. He moved to Toowoomba and started work for RL Ward and Company doing linehaul work to the southern states and across the dirt to Perth. He did this for about five years driving Macks, and later, one of the first Autocars to be imported into the country.
Bob then purchased a country mail contract and later a concrete agitator working mostly round Toowoomba. Missing life on the road he purchased a Scania and contracted to GCI. Nurseries in Nerang, Qld doing linehaul all over the eastern states. When the contract expired Bob started as a roadtrain driver with Simon National Carriers in 1989. He was also the driver trainer for Simons and taught new drivers how to operate Kenworths, Volvos and Western Stars. In 1991 Bob took over as manager of the Toowoomba depot.
By 1994 Bob was driving again, this time for PA Marr on the Darwin run returning via Kununurra to cart produce to the Brisbane markets. During his five years with PA Marr, Bob drove a ‘Gumboot’ Scania and a Volvo FHl6. In 2000, Bob started work for Transpacific Industries in Toowoomba later moving to Bundaberg to run the nationwide oil branch of the company.
Bob's youngest son Mark drives for Ricky Blinco Transport on the Mt Isa and Darwin run from Oakey. Bob recently did a short run with Mark and wonders how he sat in “one of these things” for 40 years.
The mateship and all the friends made over the years give Bob great memories. Bob and Carolyn retired to Clifton in Queensland in 2007. Bob still gets a chance to live life on the road, but this time as a grey nomad travelling at a leisurely pace.