Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2012.
Eddie Buxton turned 80 in April 2012. He retired in 2011 after six decades on the road. Eddie drove for the Shell Company of Australia for 17 years and also worked for Brogdan Transport and for his son Michael. At one stage he was an owner-driver but an inability to pay $7 000 in road tax saw him in prison for two weeks in the 1960s. He decided to work for wages.
Eddie’s 60 year trucking career began in the forests of Gippsland Victoria in 1952 but for the two years previous he drove trams in Melbourne to save up enough cash to purchase a truck. It was a 1938 Dodge and he soon put it to work carting firewood, wattle bark and fencing posts.
Eddie made his own turntable out of a piece of timber and a plough disc which enabled him to attach a timber jinker to cart mill logs and shed poles. He initially loaded the jinker with his father’s draught horses but later used a World War II Bren gun carrier which made the work easier.
During the 1950s Eddie traded trucks several times and worked a period for wages for Dyers Transport before becoming an owner-driver again in 1957 when he purchased a 1953 Clydesdale Albion with a 26ft semi trailer. He carted general and concrete pipes throughout Victoria and to Wagga Wagga in NSW. This Albion was Eddie’s favourite truck of all time but, after an accident he traded it on the first Isuzu sold in Australia. His first load in this 125hp Isuzu was a run for Gotz Machinery from Melbourne to Sydney. Later, when he began contracting for TNT he painted the truck in their colours.
Eddie recalls the years from 1960 to 1966 as the best of his career. Even it was tough times and drivers were given only 30 hours to get to Sydney. The trucks could barely travel at 35mph on the narrow roads and single lane bridges. It was also a time of camaraderie and mateship. There were no mobile phones or CB radios and drivers had to rely on each other for assistance along the road. He says,
“Drivers were mates, one big happy family. There was no tailgating or hassling on the road and we communicated with different hand signs to indicate overweight, speeding and logbook checks”.
In 1966 Eddie traded the Isuzu on an International C1800 and towed trailers for McPhees Interstate Transport. He sold this truck in 1971 and joined the Shell Company of Australia where he drove Atkinsons, Kenworths and Macks for the next twenty years Eddie says he did try to retire in 1991 but the call of the road was too strong. He returned to work in 2000 and spent the next seven years carting containers for Brogdan Transport. Eddie’s sons, David and Michael both work in the industry and Eddie filled in some time driving casual for them until he finally retired.
A good innings indeed.