Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2012.
Brian (Hillsy) Carnell has been in the transport business for 72 years having started helping his father drive Blitz and Diamond T trucks from the time he was just ten years old. He loved the adventure and would often fight with his brother over who would get to drive the trucks the furthest.
The first truck Hillsy operated in his own right was a Marmon Herrington Ford. He purchased this in 1948 when he was 18 years old and used it to cart wood and bagged wheat from the Loxton area to Adelaide. Loxton is located 255 kilometres northeast of Adelaide on the banks of the Murray River and is the thriving centre of one of the most productive agricultural and horticultural regions in South Australia. It is known today as the 'Garden Town of the Riverland'. In earlier years it was a regular stop for paddle-steamers.
In his many years of transport Hillsy went on to own a variety of trucks over the years including 1937 and 1947 Diamond Ts, an OL Bedford tray truck, a Dodge Power Giant tipper and a 1936 REO Speedwagon that he purchased for £30 and used to pick up stumps.
In 1978 he bought a CK40 single drive Nissan UD prime mover to begin carrying from Elliston. Within a year he had formed his own company which he named Carnelliston Transport. The depot is located at Elliston in SA and the freight comes from and goes back to Adelaide. As the business grew Hillsy continued to update his trucks. A Scania 112 bogie drive was purchased in 1987 followed by a second Scania 111 in February 1991. This truck had clocked up 1.3 million klms by its last run in August 2002. In 1993 he purchased a KGL Bedford with a Perkins P6 diesel and used it as the wool pickup truck.
One of his favourite memories from early times is of a day in June 1954 when he had loaded bagged superphosphate in Adelaide and travelled to Swan Reach. As he needed to cross the Murray River he drove onto the punt only to sink it as he was carrying too much weight. Hillsy recounts that he loved the freedom of those days but not the size of the trucks and all the manual labour that was required to load and unload.
Today Hillsy is semi-retired organising the handling of freight around the Elliston district. He is the depot manager of Heath Transport’s Elliston branch and aspires to stay in the industry for as long as possible. To him trucking is a great job and a great way to see the country and get paid to do so. While he is impressed by the size of today’s modern trucks, Hillsy dislikes all the rules and regulations enforced on the industry.
For Brian there always has been no challenge too big or too small.