Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2013.
Peter James Finnerty was born in Wagin, Western Australia in January 1933. Wagin is a sheep and farming area and Peter liked watching the early supply and livestock trucks that serviced the area. When he was nine years of age, the family shifted to Midland Junction which was the site of the Western Australian Government Railway (WAGR) for 80 years and the terminus for the Midland Railway Company. Upon completing his schooling at CBC College, Peter was able to get an apprenticeship as a coach painter with the then WAGR at the Midland Railway Workshops. A short time after completing his apprenticeship childhood memories of the trucking industry and the lure of road got the best of him. Like many people in the road transport industry he’d harboured a love of trucks from childhood. Peter got his first driving job in 1954 delivering bread and baked goods house to house in a 1948 KB2 International Van.
In 1964 Peter decided to go into business for himself and purchased a school bus run in York,WA. The bus was an old 1954 Austin Loadstar, but he used it for a couple of years to get on his feet and then traded it for a new J series Bedford. In 1968 Peter sold that bus and bought a two year old Austin FJ series truck powered by a BMC Diesel. It was fitted with a 22ft body and a convertible two deck sheep and single deck cattle crate. After a few years he upgraded to a single drive T684 Fiat prime mover with bogie Howard Porter trailer; again fitted with a convertible crate. By this time he was carting cattle from the Pilbara region back to the Tip Top Abattoirs at Wooroloo 56 km east of Perth, and also to the Rail Head at Meekatharra. Peter later bought a new Fuso prime mover.
In the late 1970’s Peter sold up his business and got a job driving for Sands Milk Transport in Northam. During this time he drove a variety of smaller vehicles including an XA Falcon Panel Van, a Ford F250, and an 8 ton D series Ford Truck. By 1985 Peter had decided to go back into business for himself and purchased a nine ton Isuzu. He sub-contracted to Sands Milk for the next four years. When it was time for a break again and Peter sold the Isuzu and went back driving for wages; still with Sands. This time it was tipper work driving various trucks which included a 1418 Mercedes Benz (ex Ready-Mix), an ACCO International with a VT190 Cummins, and a 1419 Mercedes fitted with an Allison transmission.
After a long and interesting career in road transport Peter made the decision to retire in 1993 and take life a bit easier. It took less than a year for him to realise that the call of the road was too strong and retirement was not such a good idea. He came to the conclusion that it was far better to ‘wear out than to rust out’. Today Peter shares his time between Sands Transport driving road trains, and Mortlock Haulage carting grain.