Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2013.
Mal Robinson owns and operates a heavy vehicle repair business in the North East Victorian region, based in Wangaratta, known as Robinson’s Truck & Coach Maintenance. He started the business in a small rented shed in 1994. Prior to that he worked at Hoy’s Bus Lines, Wangaratta and in the 1980s he started and ran Reliance Workshop in Alice Springs.
Mal served his apprenticeship at West City Heavy Equipment Services in Wangaratta and later worked forTheiss Bros on projects like Dartmouth and Googang Dam sites. He then became a caravan chassis builder for Camper Trailer in Wangaratta and a mechanic for the American-based feedlot, Custom Feeders and later still, worked as foreman mechanic for Murray Goulburn at Milawa for over seven years. He worked on tankers and refrigerated units, mainly Internationals, Dodges and Mitsubishis
Mal came to the Northern Territory after he was employed by Deluxe Bus Lines. He was based in Alice Springs but did relief work in Darwin and Ayers Rock. In 1992 he moved back to North East Victoria and worked at Hoy’s Bus Lines for a couple of years before starting his current business. Robinsons Truck and Coach has ten employees and has produced nine qualified mechanics through apprenticeships over 19 years of operation.
Today the business specialises in Scania Truck and Coach products and Hydrahose business in Wangaratta which compliments the truck and coach repairs. Mal also operates an old 1969 Transtar heavy tow truck for AAA Towing. Mal’s son Ben has just completed his apprenticeship and will steer the business into the future.
Mal has worked consistently in road transport over the past 43 years and still enjoys working both ‘on the floor’ and ‘out on the road’. While he says he has no thoughts of retirement yet, he says he is ‘slowing down’.
Looking ahead, Mal sees his staff as beneficiaries of training to keep up with the requirements of technology and regulation, the latter being the roadworthy requirements and testing. Robinsons are currently accredited Heavy Vehicle and Bus testers and are in the process of purchasing a roller brake tester so they can further grow this side of the business. Mal is a current member of the VACC and supports their advocacy for the industry. Mal has always been an advocate for respect and recognition of the hard work and intelligence of mechanics, which he says often goes unnoticed by most hierarchies. He would like to see these amazing young men and women put on more of a pedestal in the transport industry, because without them, the wheels of Australia would stop.