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Year: 2015

Born on the 24th November 1940 in Scotland, Bill Johnstone arrived in Australia in 1960 with the 10 Quid passage in those days. He arrived in Adelaide on a boat and met a bloke who told him he had a job for him at Naracoorte. Heading off in an old Austin they arrived to find out his job was driving an old Bulldog tractor, Bill was not happy, so he caught the train to Spencer Street, hopped onto a Tram and headed out to J Wilson Removals. Bill started employment carting furniture. This was the start of driving trucks in Australia for the rest of his life until he retired.

Bill was restless and had quite a few jobs. He worked for Fulton's Sand and Screenings driving KB Series Internationals and loaders and a B61 Mack for Bob Cheyne. He took it on its maiden voyage to Grafton with a D8 Cat Dozer on the back, not bad for a raw young Scottish boy all of 22 years, who had never driven a twin sticker. He made the comment that by the time he got over Pretty Sally he had it all worked out. Bill continued carting dozers and heavy haulage in a logging industry for Bob who later sold the Mack to Paddy Keogh and Bill went with it. He also drove for East Coast carting GMH crates and cars on the top and had a stint driving tankers for Joe Bromage, he had some great times at Liquid Cartage driving everything you could imagine. When Brambles took over he remained with them doing heavy haulage and tanker work.

Time to settle down, he went to work for Shell and remained there for well over 20 years. He was given the nickname Sam, which stood for Self Appointed Manager, and yes he climbed up the ladder and was appointed union delegate and safety officer, always looking after his fellow drivers making sure they were happy in their job.

After being made redundant with the Cootes takeover Bill started driving for Caltex for a period of four years and nine months, but he is proud to say he received his five year service badge when he left the company. From there he drove for Borg Brothers carting vegetable oil and tallow always being involved with tanker work, he had 10 years with the Borg Boys and finished up driving for an agency, a great career in the oil industry and whoever you talk to, just say Billy Johnston is a top bloke who has become a True-Blue, but still has the Scottish accent, says Alan (Speed) Bailey.

When Bill got the job at Wilson Removals, his first trip was to Moe in Gippsland. He asked an old bloke in the yard where it was? The old fella told him to go out the yard turn left and you will come to Moe, driving an old J5 Bedford he found Moe.

He worked for Liquid Cartage with his good mate Ronnie Sinclair who he still keeps in touch with today. They were part of a team building up trucks out of parts found in the graveyard down the back, they would use whatever, Albion cab, GM motor, Jaguar differential, a real bitzer, and when it was time to fit the seat Bill would sit down and move the seat backwards, forwards and sideways and say that feels right and the bloke with the spark machine would weld it to the floor. Ronnie is at the moment, rebuilding a 671 GM to go in a KB14 Truck that was purchased from the States by Leo Kelly, a market gardening mate.

Yarning around the table with Bill, he told us about a bloke in the office at Shell giving them the shits on a Monday morning bragging about his son's footy stats, I said to him, You're not talking about Brian Crocker are you? His eyes nearly popped out of his head asking how I knew him. I said, Brian and I grew up in the Gully and still lives here, he worked for years at Shell and progressed up the ladder to be Victorian Transport Manager. His son Darren played a lot of footy for North Melbourne.

Bill married a local girl from Footscray, he bought a house in Newport, just down the road from the refinery, he had two sons and still lives in the same house, and Barbara still puts up with him after 48 years of marriage.

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