Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2000.
Few men have a life as diversified as that of pioneer Kurt Johannsen. Born at Deep Well, south of Alice Springs, in 1915 Kurt is a true son of the Red Centre. He acquired his driving licence at 11 and by the time he was 15 was driving his own truck carting night soil.
Kurt's career spanned that of labourer, fencing contractor, mailman, aviator and inventor but his greatest achievement is his adaptation of the self-tracking trailer and development of the world's first successful commercial roadtrain cattle haulage.
Utilising a Diamond T980 (Ex US ARMY issue), Kurt built a roadtrain the likes of which had never been seen before. The bureaucrats questioned his sanity and property owners scoffed at the idea but Kurt persevered and was soon putting the drovers out of work. He lengthened the chassis on the truck and fitted it with a crate, and then built three trailers using ex-US Army bren gun carriers. Kurt used the principal of the self-tracking mechanisms on the AEC roadtrain to develop his simpler but more effective version on his own trailers. Self-tracking meant the trailers could follow exactly in the tracks of the prime-mover.
The main disadvantage was, that if you staked a drive tyre, you were highly likely to stake several others down that side of the roadtrain! The trailers were to travel an incredible 2,000,000 miles before they finally retired. Kurt Johannsen is a foundation member of the Road Transport Historical Society and in 1992 donated $500 to kick start this museum.