Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2005
Earl was stricken with poliomyelitis at the age of eight leaving him with a permanent disability of 100% paralysis of the left arm and 85% of the left hand. Being a determined young man, this did not deter him from doing the things he wanted, and that was to be a truck-driver. He practised continuously until he could do a right-hand gear change as he knew this was a necessity for him to get his licence.
In 1953, at just 17 years of age, and brandishing a new driving licence, Earl was literally biting at the bit to get his Chev ex-army Blitz on the road.
He immediately started his own business cutting and carting cordwood, using the Blitz with a tray body. In 1957 Earl purchased an OHV Ford F600, lengthened the wheelbase, and with a 19ft body, started hauling livestock in his local area. This was the beginning of Earl Retschlag Livestock Transport, Nanango (QLD). In 1959 he began hauling logs with an F600. In 1960 he purchased International petrol Acco 180, giving him two trucks to transport livestock.
In 1965 using an International V8 petrol AB-184, Earl began hauling livestock long distance from the South Burnett and May Valley to Tancred Bros abattoir, Beaudesert and to Kilcoy abattoir (both in Queensland). In 1969 a Deutz Jupiter PM joined the fleet which was, a few years, later replaced by one of the fires Volvo G88 to come into Australia. Later, Earl also operated a big International powered by a V8 Cummins.
In 1973 Earl decided to sell the business but has continued trucking. There is no doubt Earl was a pioneer of the transport industry in the South Burnett district but it was his awesome ability to change truck gears with his right hand, that made him a true legend among the truckies.
Once a truckie always a truckie!