Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2008.
Max Burgess, born in Adelaide in 1927, was always going to be a bushy. At 13 he went to the north-west of South Australia to be a stockman on Commonwealth Hill Station. When he was 17 he returned to Adelaide and joined the AIF.
He became a transport driver and was sent to Alice Springs to transport troops between Alice and the railway head at Birdum near Darwin. After the war he married Shirley and got a driving job with Bonds Tours.
In 1950 he was transferred to Alice Springs for the start of the tourist season working for the Bonds/Tuit Organization. At that time Len Tuit was operating a three-day mail service between Alice and Darwin using a large trailer behind a bus. In 1951 Max transferred to Pioneer Tours, a part of the Ansett organisation, and continued to operate to Alice Springs and Central Australia and many other areas of the outback. Pioneer Tours acquired the Bond/Tuit Organisation in 1958 and operated as Pioneer Tuit until 1961 when it became Ansett Pioneer. Max continued with Ansett Pioneer both on road and in administration until 1972 when he transferred to the South Australian Engineering and Water Supply Dept until his retirement in 1991.
He has very fond memories of his years on the outback roads of Australia and can tell many stories of those times. The tours he travelled were from South Australia via the Stuart Highway and the Old Ghan Track through Oodnadatta, from Queensland to Alice Springs via the Barkly, Sandover and Plenty Highways, from Western Australia via the Great Central Road from Kalgoorlie and the northern Gunbarrel Highway to Ayers Rock, and then to Alice Springs via the Lasseter Highway taking in Kings Creek, Kings Canyon, Mereenie Loop and the Western MacDonnells. He toured between Alice and Darwin via the Stuart Highway or the Tanami Track camping at Rabbit Flat, and then on to Kununurra, Halls Creek and finally down to Perth in WA.
Max has countless stories to tell, but one of his favourites is the time on a tour from Alice to Adelaide via the Ooodnadatta Track when he broke a front spring hanger on his rear axle. He ended up reversing 23kms at night from the border to Kulgera to hold the axle in place.