Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2012.In 1965 Murray Peal found himself in Mt Tom Price employed as a labourer with an ambition to drive anything on wheels. A promotion from a shovel to an AEC Mandator water tanker kick started his driving career.
An opportunity to relieve an injured driver at Sweeney Transport saw Murray doing a trip from Mt Tom Price to Perth and return in a Leyland Hippo. That trip set the mark for his future.
Returning to Melbourne in 1966, via the cab of an International R190 was Murray’s first experience of the Nullarbor. He recalls having no sleeper, no air conditioner, just a pillow, a sleeping bag, a piece of tarp and plenty of dirt.
A 12 month stint with Green McCandlish was his next driving job before getting behind the wheel of a 1418 Benz for Charles Coulsen carting timber and general interstate with mates Ian McNiff and Doug Lindsay. These mates filled vacancies at NG Brown and began driving Atkinsons. These were powered by either by 150hp Gardners or GM 671s and fitted with ten speed Roadrangers set up to tow three-way trailers. Travelling together increased Murray’s awareness of mateship and respect for the job.
Murray then worked at Eagles and Brahm’s with Ruffy Doyle for two years until his wife insisted on a quick trip overseas. Eighteen months later he had covered many miles in various Lancashire lorries “educating the Poms on how the job could be done”.
Back home Murray drove for many companies and then accepted a job as South Australian manager for McPhans Transport. Jetspress took over McPhans and, after refusing a managerial position, Murray set up his own partnership. For 14 years many makes of truck were purchased to transport general, produce, refrigerated goods, express and over-dimensional loads all over Australia until the “recession we needed to have” saw the company close.
In the early 90s Murray worked in truck sales, consultancy and then started a drive-way service for new and secondhand commercial vehicles. A casual weekend job carting cement became permanent and lasted seven years. He did earthworks around Adelaide, and then with his own Mack and Volvo, became an owner operator doing tipper work in Brisbane.
Looking back on 47 years in the industry Murray rates his early days as being the best because of the true mateship between drivers. In 2012 he is employed in Automotive Warehousing and Distribution supplying parts to GMH. The word “retirement” is not in his vocabulary.