Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2012.In 1968, at the age of 19, John Whitelock left the family farm in Lockington Victoria, and with his father as guarantor on a $5000 loan, purchased a 1966 seven series Dodge. While towing a single axle milk tanker for Carnation around the Echuca and Rochester area doing milk pickups, this truck would always backfire loudly whenever he de-accelerated. John remembers fondly that he used to enjoy going past the Rochester church on quiet Sunday mornings and slowing just enough to get the backfiring happening. His father, a lay preacher, was never all that amused.
John then purchased a Leyland and started running interstate. Over the next few years he worked for well known companies such as Kraft Foods, Vaughans Transport and Neils Transport of Echuca. Technology, especially with refrigerated transport was not what it is today and breakdowns were a regular occurrence. He recalls a load of Easter eggs en route to Brisbane that melted when the fridge motor failed. John also did a short stint at Bunker Freight Lines in a White Road Commander before starting at Australian Pacific Tours in the late 1970s.
Ray Higginson of Mooney Valley Bus Lines had taken John under his wing sometime before and introduced him to the “amazing” world of camping tours and the Australian outback. He says those were the best years and a lot of fun was had. Tales of corrugated roads and bull dust holes peppered the lives of his children. John met his wife Tracy when she was a cook on one of his camping tours.
John settled in Bendigo in 1982 and again started as an owner driver with a Leyland Albion carting stock feed for Water Wheel and Barastoc. This became his stock in trade and he has not waivered to this day. Today John Whitelock’s fleet comprises 15 vehicles with depots in three states. The business hauls general freight interstate including contract work for Hazeldenes Chickens and Allied Mills. John’s son Daniel has followed in his father’s footsteps and is also employed as a diesel mechanic and interstate truck driver.