SVILICICH, Mort

MORT SVILICICH, known as ‘Blondie, was born in Middle Swan, WA, in 1923. He was married to Alma and had a son and two daughters. Blondies love for trucks began in the early 1950s carting wood. He chopped wood and transported it to the Bindoon Saw Mill. By the early 1960s Blondie had become and owner driver and was sub-contracting to Brambles Manford. The trucks he operated included an International, a 12 tonne Perkins powered Dodge, an L series Mercedes Benz followed by a 1418 Mercedes Benz which he drove until he died in January 1993.

Blondie hauled all over Western Australia including carting heavy mining equipment to Pannawonica, King Bay (Dampier), Tom Price and Paraburdoo. He also carted the very first motel unit to the Boab Hotel in Derby. There were few sealed roads in those days and most of Blondies travelling was on unformed, corrugated dusty roads with little, if any, infrastructure along the route. Roadside stops and cafes were unheard of. Blondie had a hessian water hung on his bullbar, and slept on a wire bed under the trailer or across the seats in the cab and cooked his own food. If he did eat in a remote location or country hotel he always checked the kitchen out first.

Blondie was a very strong man and was known for his ability to lift 44 gallon drums and steel split rims to load on his trailer by hand. He was also an old school truckie whose willingness to share his knowledge and teach the young blokes was legendary – although, he was also never too scared to pull them back into line if he thought they needed it. Dennis, his off-sider, said he was like a big brother to him.

Blondie was remembered on the road by his blue toweling hat which he always wore. He always stopped off in Geraldton on his home run to pick up a bag of tomatoes and a bunch of carnations for his beloved wife Alma. The couple lived in Herme Hill where Blondie worked the vineyards between trips. He carted to Laverton, Leonora, Kalgoorlie and Granny Smith and other mine sites until 1992 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He passed away in January 1993.