JACKEL, Kurt

KURT JACKEL, who has driven through seven decades first began driving in 1957 behind the wheel of Dennis at the age of 21. He carted paint and batteries from Sydney to Adelaide and GMH bodies on return. By 1959 Kurt was driving Sydney-Adelaide-Brisbane across the Hay Plains in his first truck, a Commer TS3 (Knocker) occasionally getting bogged along the way and waiting up to two days for assistance to come. In 1960 Kurt upgraded his fleet to the Magirus Deutz Jupiter and contracted for PNJ contractors from Sydney to Adelaide. Kurt recalled the 280hp air cooled motor made it perfect for Australian conditions.

Late 1961 saw a further upgrade to the Magirus Deutz Saturn. By this time Kurt was contracted to Rudders driving Sydney to Perth. Navigating across the Nullarbor was made difficult by the pot holes, 3ft deep bull dust holes and deep corrugation. The journey to Perth took seven days one way and that was in good weather. In 1965 Kurt moved to Adelaide and got married. Between 1965 and 1970 he delivered ATCO huts to the iron ore fields in Western Australia for Ansett Freight Express (AFE). He also did a short stint driving Redline coaches from Alice Springs to Ayers Rock giving guided tours of the rock which included him climbing it 22 times.

There were big adventures to be had on the dirt roads during the 1960’s with friendships and memories lasting a lifetime. Kurt purchased his first Kenworth in 1972 with a V8 Detroit Motor. Kurt’s innovative thinking saw one of the first road train permits issued to him in South Australia. During the floods in Western Australia Kurt was one of a few granted a one month permit to drive triples from Port Augusta to Coolgardie. Throughout the rest of the 1970’s Kurt carted general from Adelaide to Darwin and in the 1980’s and 90’s swapped to car carrying; first with Wolfs Car Carrying and later for Adelaide Car Express throughout Australia. Kurt continued to work with them for 17 years until his first retirement.

After extensive world travel Kurt needed one last fix on the roads and returned to truck driving aged 73. Driving for Laylo Road Transport he drove to Moomba three times per week carting mining equipment for Santos. Kurt eventually retired in 2013 at the young age of 76. This man is known as the ‘Google Map of Outback Australia’ Every day, every bridge, every turn-off – he knows it all. Congratulations Kurt!