Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2014.
Bruce (Popeye) Solomon originally hailed from Jamestown in South Australia. After he left school he helped his father on the farm and in the shearing shed learning to drive at a young age.
At the age of 16 Bruce left home to go and work on historic Old Canowie with the Daw family on their cattle stud. Canowie is a pastoral lease located about 23klms south of Terowie. It was at this time Bruce developed his love of the outback here as he followed the Daw family around their other properties working including Wentworth near Mildura and Avoca Para. Bruce went on to work on several other remote sheep and cattle properties before deciding he wanted to be a driver. In 1977 he returned to Jamestown and carted interstate to Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.
In 1978 Bruce moved to Alice Springs to take up a bus driving job with Greyhound and later Stateliner. Bruce usually did the Coober Pedy to Dunmarra run of which half was a corrugated unformed dirt road and the other a thin ribbon of bitumised potholes. These were the days when buses not only carried passengers but took supplies to roadhouses and dropped mail to cattle stations along the route. Many life-long friends were made during this time.
Bruce gave up bus driving to go and work for MacMahon’s in the construction industry. MacMahon had work all over Australia at the time and Bruce worked at Dunmarra, Ayers Rock (Yulara) Curtain Springs, Mereenie, the Buchanan Highway and the rail line at Collinsville in Queensland. Bruce’s wife Shirley and his two children, Wendy and James, lived in the remote area road camps and became well known throughout the outback before they moved into Alice Springs which they still call home. Bruce also ran ‘hotshots’ to the Granites Gold Mine for Kwikasair for a time.
In recent years Bruce has become known as “the grader man” and works grading remote area roads all around Central Australia including the Mulga Park, Andado, Glen Helen and Finke roads. He has gone on to become a Territory legend of the roads.