Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2007.
Tom Wilkinson's love of trucks started at the age of 13 in 1947 at Bendigo, Vic where he and his dad operated a 1934 five ton Chev Maple Leaf with a five speed, crash box.
On the way to school in Kangaroo Flat, Tom would pass legendary 'Mo Connelly's depot in Golden Square and dream of being a truck driver. Years later, he got a job driving with Kortum Brothers in Cobram and Elmore. Before that he worked for a time in Picola driving a five tonne Burma Road Dodge carting sleepers and off-cuts to Bendigo.
He also worked for 'Jungle Jack' Jennings on a Commer R6 Perkins-powered, carting rice at Wakool, NSW. At Kortum's he gained valuable experience driving a K5 International, a Studebaker, an L160 International, a LH Drive C18 White, a KB6 International, a Reo E22 and a Perkins-powered EG Mack. He carted stock during the week and on weekends it was off with the crate and down to Harcourt, Vic to load fruit for the Sydney Market.
He later got a job with Dunnings Transport driving an R180 Black Diamond on market runs before buying an E22 Reo. Tom set out to make a fortune but, like many owner/operators in that era, went broke. He was able to trade it in on an AS160 and drove for Priest Brothers Orchardists for a time. They re-powered it with a 451 GM and ran 20% lighting kerosene in the diesel. Tom later drove an AS180 International for Don Blake for about seven years. Don helped him buy his own truck to cart apples to Sydney, Newcastle and Brisbane. Later he subbied for TNT carting general freight from Melbourne to Sydney, Perth and Brisbane. He remembers Ken Thomas as a perfect gentleman, always taking time to say, G'day mate.
Tom gave the road away in 1968 and purchased a White Agitator and stayed a concrete carter until December 2002.
By then he'd owned two twin steer ACCOs, a 9000 Louisville and an 8000 Louisville which he ran until he retired at the age of 69.
A True Aussie Battler Legend.