John Ottley was born in Leeton, NSW in 1943 and married Ev in 1966. John's father drove trucks during WWII and it was only a matter of time before he followed into trucks. One of John's first forays into the industry was carting onions for his brother in-law during the 1972 and 1973 seasons in a White super power semi-trailer.
Whilst in Darwin on holidays in 1974, and after surviving Cyclone Tracy, John and his brother decided to buy a front end loader and an International ACCO tipper to help clean up Darwin. In 1977, over a beer, someone asked for Buffalo carters. This started a new chapter in John's trucking career. With a single drive International ACCO prime mover pulling two stock crates, his first load was from Wagait Reserve to Point Stuart where the meat was exported to West Germany. After a year the underpowered ACCO gave way for a G88 Volvo cab over this also proved to be underpowered.
John's next rig was an International Transtar 400 prime mover which was converted to a body truck. The addition of five tonne of concrete on the floor of the stock crate as ballast the truck had the ability to tackle the Wangi jump up.
In the early 80's the Transtar gave way to a Kenworth SAR 350hp, called 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly'. This performed very well as a body truck for the next five or so years. Most of John's livestock carting was in the top end including to and from the Townsend and Henderson properties. John was also involved with the destocking of cattle off Victoria River Downs (VRD) station after Kerry Packer sold it. It was a job John will never forget; there were 16,000 sixteen thousand head of cattle moved and they had two hundred births on-board during transit.
The Kenworth was sold in 1986 and John went back to fitter and turning. John kept his eye inby driving the support truck for the Variety Bash, five years running until the Army took over. In 2005 John helped 'Porky's Pickups' with a few trips in his SAR carting pylons from Broome to Port Hedland. John Ottley remains a truckie at heart and now has a 1965 F350, fifth wheeler for travelling.