Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2012.In 1959, at the age of 18 years, Keith Houston took a job driving for R J Heslop in the Great Western district of Victoria. He was to continue working there for the next seventeen years.
The first truck he drove was a 1946 Chevrolet tray which he used for carting 44 gallon drums of fuel from Ballarat all throughout the Great Western district. His next truck was a Dodge semi which carted general freight and drums of fuel from Ballarat. He later moved on to another Dodge towing a 30,000 litre fuel tanker carting from Pt Melbourne to Ballarat and Stawell depots. The tanker fuel was certainly easier than his previous job of loading and unloading 44 gallon drums.
In 1976 Keith decided to go into his own business and bought a Mercedes Benz prime-mover which he used to tow Heslop’s fuel tankers usually carting from the Melbourne and Geelong refineries and delivering to BP service stations and depots throughout western Victoria. In 1982 he took another change of pace and driving a petrol tanker for Knights of Kilmore delivering fuel from Melbourne to western Victoria.
By the time 1983 rolled around Keith had decided to become and owner operator again. He purchased a Mazda rigid and started sub-contracting for Comet delivering parcels in the Ballarat area. He did this for another 17 years before retiring in 2000. At first Keith found retirement exciting and relaxing but he soon missed the driving and camaraderie of the road. Before the year was out it was back to trucking for Keith. Initially Keith went to Bordertown, SA to drive a six week stint for his brother-in-law, Jack McCarthy. It was a six week stint that lasted two years. During most of this time Keith drove a 1988 Western Star from Bordertown to Adelaide on a daily basis. This is Keith’s favourite truck of all time. No doubt it was instrumental in keeping him from retirement. Keith recalls,
“The Western Star was great because it was very comfortable and it had great horse power.”
Keith enjoyed it so much that he worked for his brother in law for two years before retiring for the second time. Not surprisingly for a man with diesel in his blood Keith came out of retirement again in 2000 and spent another three years driving for KT Preston of Ballarat before finally retiring.