Inducted into the Rimula Hall of Fame at ReUnion 2015
Brian John Burnett was born and raised in Koorda, Western Australia where he married Janett Bailey in October 1961. The couple went on to have four children. Brian developed a keen interest in trucks at an early age. By the time he had turned 18 he had bought an eight ton Ford truck. While still working on the family farm, he also carted wheat whenever the chance arose.
In 1969, with three young children, the Burnetts moved to the city and Brian took on a position with Brambles Manford in Kewdale. Brian later worked as a sub-contractor for McShane Transport carting to the mid-west. It was while he was working for McShane that Brian bought his first semi-trailer; a D Series Ford. Brian then sub contracted for Osborne Transport. In the early 1970s he purchased a 1418 Mercedes Benz and started B & J Burnett Cartage Contractors.
In the early 1980s Brian and Janet Burnett had to expand their business to make ends meet. They secured several metropolitan contracts and purchased two island cabs to service Boral Steel and Steelmark. Over the next five years the Burnett fleet was increased to 14 vehicles.
In 1983 Burnett’s expanded and setting up a depot in Malaga to provide supplies and services to MES and Petyray Oil Exploration. Between 1985 and 1990, Burnett’s also ran an express freight service to Belina Oil Fields out of Derby. Oil ventures were quite lucrative in Australia at the time.
Burnett’s played a pivotal role in the development of the mining industry in Western Australia, transporting plant and equipment to gold mines in the Kimberly and Pilbara regions. By 1995 BJ was employing 22 staff including two mechanics and a boiler-maker welder. In addition to the island cabs, Burnett’s had three triple road trains, 12 trailers, three semi-trailers and three eight ton tray tops.After 30 plus years, Brian and Janet Burnett decided to sell up and retire to Bunbury.
Burnett’s was purchased by Santo Giuliana in 2000. The new owner kept the founders name and today the company is known as McMahon Burnett Transport.