Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2008.
Henry Burns always loved engines so it was inevitable he'd end up driving or fixing things with motors. At 17 he started driving trucks beginning a life-long obsession with the road.
His first semi was a P6 Perkins-powered Commer 5-tonner with a 34' trailer with pine frames to carry up to six cars between Adelaide and Brisbane. Although grossly underpowered and uncomfortable it was more profitable than the AEC Mammoth Major he purchased in 1953 to carry general freight for the local firm of Challenge Transport in Newcastle.
In 1955 he purchased an 8-wheeler Atkinson with 6LW Gardiner to carry masonite from Newcastle to Toowoomba. 1959 saw Henry sell his trucks and start earthmoving in Brisbane. This resulted in his first low-loader, an ex-army GMC (oh, what a beast) later updating to his first Leyland Hippo and low-loader (oh, what a truck) to carry draglines in the mid 1960s. Henry loved his Leyland Hippos, go anywhere and unstoppable trucks, particularly the forward control models with cabs low enough to carry draglines with booms still attached out over their cabins. Henry specialised in shifting draglines and crawler cranes and other heavy equipment.
In 1976 Henry, semi-retired from his low-loader business, purchased his first coach, a Mercedes 302 that he drove himself for six years subcontracting to Cobb & Co and then McCaffertys, retiring from business in 1982 at the age of 50. Born to drive, Henry spent the next 20 years touring Australia and the USA in motor-homes.
He came out of retirement at 70 to drive a roadtrain in the Gulf of Carpentaria for six months. It was an experience he really enjoyed and said he would love to have another go.
In 2008, at the of 75, Henry took on a job driving a Mack truck and low-loader. He loved the power and comfort of the late model Mack but says there are too many regulations in place these days compared to when he was a young man. Henry is a highway legend.