Doug Tennant has always been keen on anything with wheels. He got his start in the transport industry in 1966 in Bedford buses for a local bus service (Morphett's) in Adelaide.
In 1967 Pioneer advertised for drivers for their interstate express routes. Doug sat for the driving and safety tests that were part of their employment process and was appointed as a driver becoming the youngest person nationally to drive solo, normally drivers had to be 25. He drove the express routes, Adelaide to Perth, Alice Springs, Broken Hill and Melbourne until 1973.
Doug then returned to Morphett's moving into tour and charter work. Morphett's were contracted to Australian Pacific to do 23 day Darwin accommodated safari tours. They also offered $90 special camping tours to Ayers Rock, the beginning of adventure tourism by bus.
In 1977 a move to Briscoe's Tours saw Doug further develop his driving and people skills, travelling all around Australia, including eight years of Barramundi Fishing Safaris out of Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. Doug was a true pioneer of this new type of adventure tour helping to set up the Darwinoffice and recruit staff. He and his fellow drivers had to be ready for anything driving the outback tracks to the best fishing spots. Outside of the Barramundi tours there were school ski trips, Queensland Island tours, Perth and Western Australia wildflower tours, trips to Tasmania and any other tours and charters as required.
The early trips across the Nullarbor and to Alice Springs were on unsealed roads. These trips were uncomfortable with few roadside stops and the endless red dirt getting into everything. The ability to maintain a calm faÃ§ade is just as essential as being able to dig buses out of bogs and get over flooded creeks when you have a coachload of passengers depending on you.
The characters Doug met on the journey stand out. Celebrities included Jack Thompson, Tom Kruse, Ted Egan, Rolf Harris, Sir Reg Ansett and the Australian Cricket team. Doug caught Greg Chappell out at a fun match in Coober Pedy. Doug was also there when Spud Murphy's Pimba Roadhouse was officially opened.
Doug loved the experiences of the job and meticulously cared for his vehicles throughout his career in the transport industry. He maintained the highest safety standards and an excellent relationship with the public. Doug would certainly acknowledge that his contribution to the industry was only possible thanks to the support and encouragement of his wife Del and their children. Doug left Briscoe's in 1989 having devoted 23 years to bus transport.
Doug began driving locally for Boral Industries in Adelaide in 1990. His tour days were over but be kept doing what he loved, driving, but this time in trucks with no passengers to worry about. He retired in 2011 after trucking for a further 21 years.