In 1959 James Harper's father had a small transport company in Broken Hill and asked him to help drive from Adelaide to Broken Hill every second day, delivering papers and general freight.
In those days, the tarred road only went as far as Burra then there was 200 miles of dirt road to Broken Hill. After 18 months, James returned to Melbourne. He got a job with Humes Pipes delivering concrete pipes throughout Victoria and also delivering milk for Pura Dairies.
His brother-in-law got James a job at Liquid Carters and there he met Ray McEwan who had a prime mover at Halls Van Lines (a division of Mayne Nickless). James joined Halls Van Lines (which changed names to Tempo Freezer Freight) as a company driver, driving a Mack and a Cabover Kenworth. Tempo was later merged with Fluid Freight by Mayne Nickless to reduce depot costs.
A Tasmanian company, Frank Hammond Sea Road was purchased by Mayne Nickless and became Hammond Palmer Transport. At this time, James purchased a company prime mover and became an owner driver. Mayne Nickless decided to sell all their Bass Strait operations to Toll Transport. James continued as a sub-contractor for Toll until his retirement in 2007 aged 68.
James wife of many years, Lynette, passed away in 2011 from terminal cancer. James had 40 years on all highways and met lots of other drivers in this great industry.