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Year: 2015

John Milne was born in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales on the 27th May 1948. Like his father, grandfather and great-grandfather John joined the transport industry at an early age. His father was working for Marantelli in Finley and they needed someone to drive so 10 year old John, still in fourth grade started his first driving job. The first truck he drove was a 1948 Bedford and he was hooked for the next 50 years.

John's great-grandfather drove bullock and horse teams in Euberta in the 1800s. His grandfather had his own truck which he used to cart bricks and sand (all loaded by hand) between Wagga and The Rock in New South Wales. His father drove for 25 years carting hay and timber from Finley, Wagga and The Rock.

As a young man John worked in a bank and at 17 during grain harvest he drove a truck on the road. His first trip to Melbourne was driving a 1948 K5 International with no windows or door handles and with a wool pack in the door to stop the wind. Rugged up in an old army coat to keep warm, he thought he was king of the road.

About 1960, John got a job driving for Doughy James. He drove a butter box ACCO carting fertilizer and grain. He then progressed to a semi and for the next three years he carted general and interstate from Melbourne to Finley and Brisbane to Adelaide. For the next four years he drove for Clive Bros. all over New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria. In his first year with Clive Bros. he drove an AEC and then was upgraded to a FA Volvo.

For the next two years John worked in South Australia driving dump trucks in the mines. Here he was in charge of a Wabco 75 tonne truck driving around Iron Knob. He then moved to Brisbane and drove roadtrains Doug McIntosh running Brisbane to Darwin in a White 9000 with a 250 Cummins, no sleeper and three trailers. The trip took eight days and covered about 600 kms of dirt road. During the wet season John drove for HA Chalmers interstate from Sydney to Melbourne in a 1418 Mercedes.

From there John moved to Finemores driving stock trucks, fuel tankers and fridge vans for the next 14 years. When he left Finemores John bought his tray truck and carted hay, wood and scrap. This lasted three years then he moved to Darlington Point and worked for Bruce Gowrie-Smith Earth Works.

John then moved back to the coast and for two years worked for Joe Welch carting stock in a 600 Kenworth. He next went to Lindsay Bros. and was there for nine years driving Louisville's and Kenworths carting bananas from Tully to Adelaide. John then moved back to Finley driving a road train and tipper for McNaughts, carting sand and gravel out of Mt Gambier. John finally went with another company for nine years, mainly driving Kenworths carting flour and beverage freight.

The scariest times that John can recall was when he was carting cattle out of Gelantipy and Cooma on narrow windy roads covered in snow. He remembers the days of double tarping loads in Queensland and the Northern Territory to keep the dust out of the load. He also recalls going months without filling in a log book and buying them at the Newsagent. John has been driving for nearly 50 years, seeing all mainland capitals and has never lost his licence.

John is a tireless fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Association through their annual car rally. In 2014 John participated in the 24 hour Relay for Life. He supports the Finley Cats, helps organise the B & S Ball, working the bar on the night. John also works for the Finley Show Society, loves to ride his 2011 Harley and now can spend more time fishing.

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