Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2007.
Graeme Johnston was born in 1946 and has been involved in trucking for over 40 years, most of this time as an owner-driver. His early experience with trucks was loading and unloading boxes of fruit by hand at Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market. No such thing as a forklift or crane in those days. Loading and unloading was all by hand.
Graeme later drove a 1959 petrol Commer tray-truck belonging to his father, carrying boxes of fruit, mostly between Melbourne and Sydney markets. A trip in those days meant 24 hours behind the wheel. In 1972 he purchased his first truck, this being a 1970 Bedford tray, which he used to transport everything from toilet paper to machinery. The Bedford was replaced with a 1959 Preston cab single-drive Atkinson prime-mover specialising in over-dimensional loads, some of which were used to construct the Loyang Power Station in Gippsland. He then upgraded to a 1976 Atkinson tipper truck and dog trailer. For 20 years this unit transported pine bark, woodchips and garden supplies between NSW, Victoria and SA.
Next came the 1996 FLC Freightliner bogie-drive prime-mover towing an extendable drop-deck trailer, hauling over-dimensional loads Australia wide. Because of the load sizes, escort vehicles were often required. On occasions Graeme was away from home and family for several weeks at a time. Two years later he continued with heavy haulage work, mostly around Melbourne and outer suburbs. Loads included road-making machinery and equipment. After selling the Freightliner it was time for a change. Graeme operated, for a time, a pilot vehicle, escorting oversize and wide loads around the country before deciding it was time to enjoy his retirement.
Other trucks Graeme has driven include a Kenworth T401 prime-mover to cart logs, a Nissan UD and a Mitsubishi both for towing trailers and caravans to assorted destinations.
Graeme is now fully retired and is in the process of restoring two old Commers, one of which is nearing completion.