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Year: 2015

Mervyn Leslie O'Brien, better known as Mick O'Brien to many Territorians, was born in Western Australia in a small town called Yarloop in 1929. Mick came to the Territory at the age of 18 and did many jobs through his lifetime.

Some of his early jobs were crocodile shooting at Daly River, carting water for roadworks and as a slaughterman at Stuart Park and Berrimah Meatworks. He then worked for Reg Weston carting blue metal and copper from Rum Jungle.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s Mick worked for George Stevens Transport carrying BP fuel, driving one of their Cabover Mack trucks. Eventually he wanted to buy a new truck so went to Queensland and bought a MAN diesel. Mick was a sole operator for approximately 30 years.

Mick's work took him to many places from Darwin to Katherine, Borroloola, Daly River, Adelaide, Kununurra and Mt Bundey Quarry. Katherine was his local run twice a week for many years, transporting mainly food supplies, fuel and alcohol.

Mick drove to places others wouldn't during the wet and if he got bogged or broke down the local people would come and help him unload the truck. After the work was done he would then shout the men a couple of beers.

If there was a shortage of work Mick would go to Emerald Springs and Hayes Creek to cook. It was also said that he was hiding from the debt collectors as he was behind in payments.

One of Mick's biggest challenges was in the 1970s when he moved many of the buildings from the old hospital to the outer suburbs of Darwin and Jabiru. He also moved heavy machinery and an old Sydney Williams Hut to Koolpinyah Station. Mick also transported yellowcake from Jabiru to the wharf amongst protestors for many years. He mixed with many others in the trucking industry including Johnny Ross and his dad Alan Ross, Quan Sing Haulage and Stan Kennon.

In the early 1950s he met Nellie Cummings and became stepfather to her three children, they went on to have three more children together, Lesley, Wendy and Daniel.

After Cyclone Tracy his truck became his home for a while. Mick sadly passed away in 1993. He was known as a true gentleman to all who met him.

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