Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2013.
William (Willie) Watson was born on the 29th January 1939 on the eve of the Second World War when times were tough. He took many odd jobs around the district before finding his niche in road transport when he got a job driving trucks at the tender age of 19 for the well known Kings Transport of Colac, Victoria. Within a year he was hauling interstate, delivering his first load to Sydney at the age of 20. Willie went on to work for the King’s company for a further 16 years before moving to what was then called ‘Amezdroz & Menzies’ a transport company also in Colac.
The cartage firm of Amezdroz and Menzies, the firm had actually been started by Reginald Amezdroz back in 1925. One of business’s first contracts was hauling Regal and Bulla Cream around the district- imagine hauling 29 cans of cream on a two ton “Federal Knight” tray truck.
Over the years since Willie started with the Amezdroz company, they have undergone quite few a changes including changing the company name to Wettenhalls and now being sold to the DRW company. In 2011, Willie was recognised by industry leaders when he won the Natroads Professional Driver of the Year award at the annual meeting in Townsville, QLD.
Willie and his wife Helen suffered a tragedy in 1998, when they lost one of their two sons in a truck accident. Simon (Sam) was always going to follow in Willie’s foot steps and drive trucks. From an early age, Sam would spend any spare time sitting up next to “Bongo” as Sam called his father, as they moved what ever load had to go. Even though he mourns the loss, Willie has fond memories of introducing his son to the road transport industry.
In more recent times, Willie was a regular sight along the highway running anywhere between Warrnambool and Melbourne in one of Wettenhalls Kenworth K104b aerodynes usually pulling a B-Double curtain-sider giving his share of “cheek” over the UHF. Willie enjoys a chat and a joke with his fellow truckies and, as anyone who has travelled this piece of road will testify, you will hear him long before you see him.
Now that Willie has “hung up the keys” for the final time and retired after more than 39 years with the Amezdroz -Wettenhalls company (and a total of nearly 50 years in road transport), he and Helen intend to get the caravan out and make some miles together as grey nomads.