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Year: 2019

ERNEST GEORGE WARNER (Ernie) was born in 1927 and was raised in Tumby Bay, South Australia and in the late 1940's moved to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory to drive for Martin Bros (Jim and Stan) and Overland Transport for a number of years until Martin Bros decided to go their separate ways.

In later years Ernie drove for Len Tuit carting freight from Alice Springs to Darwin dropping mail off the length and breadth of the Stuart Highway. Keen to have a go at owning and operating their own truck, Ernie and friend Rex Farmilo built their first truck from bits and pieces they found at the rubbish dump and scrounged from other peoples depots. Years later Ernie recalled;

"Where is the OH&S mob, they would have had a field day".

Ernie had a reputation as a great bush mechanic who could just about fix anything, anywhere with anything. He could often be seen on the roadside helping a mate get out of mechanical trouble. For a while Ernie transported mail for Connellan Airways where he also tended to the upkeep of their remote airstrips.

Ernie then went to work for John Ryan as a driver/mechanic where he often did trips to Darwin dropping freight off to Larrimah, Daly Waters and Dunmarra Wayside Inn. In those days the Stuart Highway was a single lane rutted bitumen track that you could travel on for hours without seeing another vehicle.

In later years Ernie worked on Hamilton Downs Station. After he lost his eye in an accident he and the family moved into Alice Springs to live. He found work driving a cement truck up the steep gravel climb up Mt Gillen. No-one else was game to go. Ernie Warner passed away in 2011. He is remembered as a true character of the outback; a man who gave his all to everything.

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