MacMILLAN, William (Billy Mac)

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Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2012.

Born in 1946 William MacMillan, known as Billy Mac to his mates went to Victoria River Downs Station(VRD) in the Northern Territory in 1960 to work as a stockman. He was a great horseman and good with the stock and eventually worked his way up to becoming Head Stockman managing the centre campout station from the Moolooloo stockyards. George Lewis was the manager of VRD at the time and overseer of all Hooker’s pastoral properties in the Northern Territory and the east Kimberley region of Western Australia.

In 1969 legendary cattle transporter Noel Buntine of Buntine Roadways told George Lewis that he had to buy a new Mack R600 bogie drive body truck with three 34ft Haulmark trailers with crates to do all the stations internal work instead of tying up a Buntine roadtrain for a month at a time. Noel Buntine always said that good roadtrain drivers, who were also good at managing cattle, were as rare as hen’s teeth. The logical conclusion was that Noel Buntine would teach one of the stockmen to drive the roadtrain. The chosen stockman was Billy Mac. Billy Mac spent the rest of the cattle season off-siding with various Buntine Roadway’s drivers learning how to handle the trucks, of which he soon proved very capable. He already knew how to handle cattle and look after himself in the bush.

In 1970 another Buntine driver, Robbie Holt drove a shiny new red and white R600 Mack and three Haulmark trailers into Buntine Roadway’s depot in Katherine, NT following a long journey from the Mack dealership in Rocklea, Qld. George Lewis decided the Mack should be named ‘Cattle King’ after Sir Sidney Kidman who owned a string of cattle properties across Australia including VRD prior to World War Two. Billy Mac was given the job of driving the Cattle King

Billy Mac drove the truck throughout the 1970s and worked with Buntine Roadways well into the early 1980s becoming part of the Buntine legend along the way. He was there at the foundation of Roadtrains of Australia (RTA) and is still working there in 2012 having witnessed the famous Australian company change hands over the years to Dicky David, then Jim Cooper AO and currently Hampton Cattle Transport.