BURNS, John (JB)

Inducted into the Rimula Hall of Fame at ReUnion 2015

John (JB) Burns was born in 1945 and grew up on his parent’s sheep farm where he learned to drive in an ex-army Blitz which was the all round farm truck.  In 1962 John began driving super spreaders locally and, after obtaining his licence, he went on to drive a Leyland Hippo and and AB International carting super.

After working locally for seven years John moved to Three Springs carting grain, stock and fertilizer for the Dookanooka Pastoral Company in a 760 Series Dodge. He then moved on to Watters Transport driving an ACCO pulling a two deck sheep stock crate. Several jobs followed including for Taylors Hotel Services carting groceries to supermarkets in a White Road Commander. In those days it took up to six hours to load 22 tons of groceries by hand, box by box. John’s wife Maxine went on most trips to help load and unload. It was said she “worked as well as two men”.

In 1977 John decided he wanted a change and swapped to coach driving. He started with Greyhound as an express driver between Adelaide and Perth travelling at least 5000 kilometres each week. In order to take a break from the road, John managed the Robe Haven Motel before getting back behind the wheel in 1981 when he purchased a White Road Commander which was later upgraded to a Kenworth.

In those days John averaged five trips a week for the next five years carting refrigerated meat for Tatiara Meat Works. On several occasions he travelled from Adelaide directly to the Melbourne Airport to load straight into a Boeing 747.

In 1991 John Burns sold up and spent the next twelve seasons in the Kimberley working as a tour guide. While driving for Broome Coach Lines he relocated ‘boat people’ from both the Curtain and Port Hedland Detention Centres to various locations around Australia for the Department of Immigration.  John also carried tourists between Alice Springs and Ayers Rock (Uluru) and drove for Outback Spirit Tours doing trips to Darwin, Cape York and Ayers Rock with wife Maxine by his side as tour co-ordinator.

After contributing fifty plus years to the road transport industry John is enjoying retirement with Maxine, his wife of almost as many years. Both are well known pioneers.