Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2012.Barrie Merrett started driving a Ford F600 when he was 19 carting bricks for construction of the new TV repeater stations in the Nhill area. In those early days all loading and unloading was done by hand. Barrie progressed to driving a 1964 petrol Dodge V8 to do interstate carting for Express Freight. This Dodge was eventually traded for a 1967 Dodge which became Barrie’s favourite truck and he recounts,
“It was the best $7000 dollars I ever spent. I travelled to every capital of every state in Australia in that Dodge except Tasmania. She was good but not good enough to drive on water”.
Barrie carted the first load of railway irons from Castlemaine to Port Hedland for the new railway line being constructed from the port to the mine site. He also did numerous loads across the ‘paddock’, as the Nullarbor was known, from Nhill to Perth and did many more along the ‘goat track’ as the old Hume Highway to Sydney was called. Barrie also carted insecticide to the cotton fields at Kununurra in north west Western Australia.
When Barrie married his wife Lynne in 1972, he decided to go border hopping and do local work. He did this for a number of years and the couple had four children along the way. Barrie regularly took his eldest son, along with diapers and bottles, on the road with him.
The Merrett family moved to Alice Springs in 1994. Barrie yearned to fulfil his ambition of many years to drive a roadtrain. His dream came true when he got a job driving for McBride Transport for many years on the Alice Springs to Darwin run and elsewhere throughout the Northern Territory and South Australia. Barrie and his son Mathew travelled ‘two up’ on a mail run two years.
The next move was relocating the family back to Nhill (Vic) where Barrie started a local family-run business, Merrett Freightlines. This successful family business employs Barrie, Lynne and their two eldest children along with three other local drivers.
In 2012 Merrett Freightlines has five prime movers doing mainly local work carting live poultry, grain, and general freight.