TOL, Nick

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

In 1959 Nick Tol became an interstate haulage operator with the purchase of a red V8 Ford F600. He coupled it to a secondhand single axle strap trailer and set off to make his fortune as a subcontractor for Freeman Transport hauling to the Sydney Market. It was a decision that proved disastrous. The Ford gave him constant engine and mechanical problems and nearly sent him into bankruptcy.

Nick then purchased a 1960 petrol CX Commer and subcontracted to Mercury Transport hauling Hoover refrigerators and washing machines out of Sydney. The Commer paid for itself and the remaining Ford debts. Nick traded it on a Perkins powered International ABD182. It threw a con rod and its synchromesh transmission started to “lock up” in gear. Nick was back in financial difficulty. In 1963 Nick heard a Mainline Transport driver describing a Peterbilt truck. He told Nick it was,

“a giant of a truck with air conditioning, a comfortable sleeper, engine power and aluminium wheels.”

Nick was hooked. The International and Fruehauf trailer were traded and Nick became the proud owner of a Peterbilt in January 1964 becoming Mainline Transport’s very first subcontractor. It became a bit of a family affair. Nick’s brother Tony drove ‘two up’ with him for many years and his other brother Paul looked after the servicing and maintenance of the truck. Between them the Peterbilt never missed a beat. It was affectionately known as ‘305’ which was it fleet number.

Nick has many treasured memories of those days including the time, in 1965, that he and Ben Nyland were driving ‘two up’. Ben took over at Tumblong and Nick climbed into the sleeper. A Transport inspector at the Kilmore weighbridge checked Ben’s log book and asked who had driven to Tumblong. On being told the inspector demanded for Nick to get out. Both Nick and Ben were subsequently booked under the premise that driving with two drivers was against Victorian law. They appeared at Kilmore Court supported by Nick’s solicitor who proved there was no such law. State laws governing ‘two up’ driving were amended soon after.

With the demise of Mainline Transport in 1966 Nick worked as an independent operator towing a Fruehauf refrigerated trailer. Nick sold the unit to Consolidated Transport (SA) and soon after, his beloved Peterbilt was involved in a roll over and written off. Nick then drove an Atkinson tipper for Geoff Reynolds running to Sydney and later for Max Howard in a 1418 Mercedes Benz. His last truck was a 8V71 powered Kenworth fitted with a 13 speed Roadranger.

Nick eventually retired from the “black top” and went into the hotel industry before finally retiring to the Gold Coast with wife Barbara where today, they enjoy spending their leisure time playing lawn bowls.


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