Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2012.18.10.1943 - 07.10.1991
Bruce (Pissy) Pepperill is remembered as one of the old school roadtrain drivers of the outback; rough and tough and able to handle anything the bush threw at him. Pissy was a bit of larrikin and enjoyed the opportunity to “have a bit of a party” when it presented itself. However, he is also remembered as a man with a strong work ethic who could always get the job done.
Pissy spent his early years at Hatches Creek about 270 km south east of Tennant Creek in the Davenport Ranges where his stepfather mined scheelite and wolfram. Pissy attended Our Lady of the Sacred Heart boarding school in Alice Springs and, on leaving, school, got a job making bricks at Ted Smith’s cement works. He eventually graduated to driving trucks delivering sand and other quarry material from Centralian Quarries.
Pissy’s next employer was DR Baldock and Co driving roadtrains hauling copper ore concentrate from the Peko Mine in Tennant Creek to the railhead in Alice Springs. Baldock’s massive Diamond T and Leyland roadtrains of the day were legendary by the day’s standards.
In later years Pissy drove for Co Ord Transport and worked for Nellie Bros putting in trenches in Tennant Creek operating a Barber Green digger machine. Over the years Pissy went on to work for many other well known Territory transport operators including Georgie Stevens, Packer and David & Warriner at Newcastle station and legendary Noel Buntine of Buntine Roadways in the cattle season. Pissy’s reputation as a gun operator was born in his Buntine days. To work for Buntine it wasn’t good enough to just know how to drive a truck – you had to know how to handle cattle, repair a diff or gearbox on the side of the road, sleep in a swag and fix your own tucker, usually by cooking up a steak on a shovel over the coals or opening a tin of bully beef.
One incident Pissy never lived down occurred while he was driving Dick David’s prized 1983 Mack the ‘Rainbow Warrior’. Pissy pulled to the roadside to check his tyres on the Barkly Highway during the wet season and while he was doing just that the shoulder collapsed and the truck “fell over”.
Another favourite saying of Pissy’s when-ever any-one asked if he was an aboriginal – which he obviously was, he’d reply “ No, just an original!”
Pissy later worked for Spraypave on the road seal gang driving all over the Territory. It was a job he loved as it kept him driving trucks and kept him in the outback with his mates. It was while working with them that he suffered a massive heart-attack and died in 1991. His mates at Spraypave paid for his headstone at the Alice Springs Cemetery.