Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2013.
Maurice Quinlan, known as Blue Beard, was born in Melbourne in 1950. He grew up to play seconds football with Essendon, race bikes on the board tracks in Melbourne and could have had a life in the sporting world. Instead he chose to drive trucks. Maurice was born into a trucking family.
From the age of 15 Maurice would ride his bike from Essendon to Melbourne where he drove a tip truck on the Avalon Airport construction. When he turned 17 Maurice went to Western Australia to learn how to drive road-trains. In the West he worked for iconic companies like Bell Bros., Lesley Salt Transport and Brambles Heavy Haulage. He also continued to play Aussie Rules Football with teams around Port Hedland until he was called up for National Service.
After being discharged at 21 years of age Maurice returned to Western Australia and continued driving for a couple of years before returning to Victoria to drive interstate for Cracknell’s Refrigerated Transport.
Maurice then became an owner driver subcontracting for Brambles Bulk Haulage but had “his ego dented” when he rolled a tanker. Considering himself very lucky, Maurice wanted a change of pace and started towing fridge vans for Hawke’s Transport before buying his own fridge van in 1986 to run produce from Bowen in north Queensland to Melbourne.
Maurice then went onto bitumen tankers and operated tippers out of Cairns for three years before starting Barellan Freighters in Queensland with a partner. Finally he went on to run his own immaculate fleet of refrigerated B-Doubles and road-trains carting produce from far north Queensland to Darwin, Perth and Melbourne returning with produce from the Ord River for many years.
Always testing the authorities to their limit Maurice operated several 26 metre B-Doubles six years before they became legal. Bringing road-trains into his depot in Ipswich was a sight to see, “unless the onlookers were the law”.
In 2008 Maurice decided to sell up and retire but was soon back driving again running the east coast between Sydney and Cairns for Followmount Transport, IPEC and Mal Case Transport. Other companies Maurice worked for during his career include Steve Walters, Bell Bros., Hawkins Gulf Transport, Cootes, Twinro Taranto, Karras and Harris. After 45 years trucking has been and still is fun. It has been great for Maurice who enjoyed the challenges and the mateship of the road. He would not change a thing.