Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2009.
His name is Bill Whitchurch and, for more years than he cares to remember, he has been known along the highways of Australia as 'Billy Big Wheels'.
His first job was driving a '55 petrol Commer carting super-phosphate around Cobram and Barooga. He later carted cattle all around western NSW eventually progressing to an International. He soon learned to be a pretty good bush mechanic. Most of the people for whom he worked did their own repairs or expected the driver to make them 'en route'.
When running over to Perth truckies had to rely on themselves and each other as mechanics across the Nullarbor were few and far between, it was all dirt in the early days. Bill lived in WA for several years where he worked on the earthworks for silos in several towns in the wheat belt. Later, he carted rolls of cable and machinery to Mt. Tom Price and Paraburdoo. Following the break-up of his marriage, Bill returned to Victoria where he carted general between Melbourne and Adelaide. After remarrying he won the contract to transport fresh fruit, vegetables, frozen foods and dry goods to Darwin in his favourite truck, a Kenworth 892T. On the return trip, he brought back buffalo meat for export and picked up copper dust in Tennant Creek. When driving began to tell on his health, Bill took up work for a real estate agent in Brisbane.
Then, Bill and his wife decided to try something completely different. They rented the house out and managed a caravan park halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. They stuck it out for four years then bought their own van to work their way around Australia. Stopping in Shepparton to do some work on his mother's house, they decided a bus would be better, so bought one and re-built it themselves over the next six years, whilst working and living on an orchard in Ardmona. Leaving Victoria in 1997, they worked their way through grain and fruit seasons from Goondiwindi to Shepparton and up to Innisfail for the sugar season. They did this for 10 years. Bill carts out of Toowoomba but says he'll go anywhere - if he's in a Kenworth.