Charles John Croft, (nick name Old Jack) was born in the mallee region of Victoria in a tent, son of a horse teamster. He was born on 25th March, 1935. He met and married his late wife, Elaine Dorothy Croft of Deniliquin, in 1958 and went on to have a family of two girls and two boys. His first introduction to the transport industry was with his father, Arthur Croft, who had his own horse team of 30 horses. Jack's first job in those days at the age of five years old was to attend to the horses and harness them ready for work. They performed tasks such as dredging of water channels to carting timber out of the forest.
Jack's first job as a driver for Theo Pownceby at the age of 14 in 1949, was driving a semi-trailer. The prime mover was a 1947 Austin truck. This truck was powered by a petrol engine with a rating of 26 horse power and a 4 speed crash gearbox. This truck towed a single axle 22 ft. flat top trailer. He was carrying wooden posts from Elmhurstin in Victoria to Werribee Metropolitan Farms and would unload there and then go to Geelong to load bagged fertilizer out of the company's Cresco or Pivot and then go back to various farms in the Elmhurst area. One of the most hair raising memories for Jack in this truck was dropping the tailshaft while going down the Buninyong Hill near Ballaratt with a load of fertilizer weighing 12 ton and reaching a road speed of over 90 MPH and riding it out until the truck came to a hault.
Jack was called up for National Service at the age of 18 years old for three months in the 1950's and 1960's. While living in Deniliquin Jack was mainly carrying livestock and general freight throughout east and west coast of Australia. The trucks he drove in this period included Foden, Leyland, Beaver, F600 Ford, International L190 and R190, Ace and Deutz Jupiter. Trailers he towed included two deck stock crates and single axle and bogie axle flat tops with a 10.1 spread. All these trucks had a horse
power rating from 100 to 200 horse power. The transport companies included Mediowcroft, Griminson, John Beckton and Reynolds Trading Company.
In the 1970's, after relocating to Mildura, Jack was working for McGlashans, Armstons, Bill Lever and John Engelfield. Trucks he drove at this time included - MAN, Mercedes Benz, Scania and Atkinson, pulling flat top trailers on interstate and intrastate work. Now in 1980 Jack drove for Cordoma Brothers Refrigerated Transport of Irymple, running produce to various markets on the east coast of Australia. He drove Kenworth SAR, T600 and K100. He then left Cordomasin in the mid-90's and started with Thompsons Transport driving Kenworth K100G and K104's running all over Australia towing B/doubles and roadtrains carrying loads of Colgate, Bridgestone Tyres and for all major express freight companies. Jack moved on to Western Freight Management in the mid-2000's where he was working on the Star Track Express shuttle running between Adelaide and Sydney. While Jack was there he drove various makes of trucks from Kenworth, Freightliners and Western Star. While he was working there Jack had a great loss when the backbone of the Croft family, Elaine Croft, passed away in May, 2005. And he stayed with Western Freight Management until he retired in June, 2012, at the age of 77 years old.
Over the years he has had many memories. He went through the introduction of the road tax on the east coast of Australia which caused a lot of heartache for the transport industry in the 1960's, covering many miles on dirt road throughout the country which are now today our major highways. Over the years he has had to perform major repairs on the side of the road just to keep going to get to his destination. He has covered well over 11 million kilometres in his 64 years career in the transport industry.
This nomination is being dedicated to the memory of Elaine Dorothy Croft for her love and support to Jack for 48 years for whom he would not have been able to achieve this milestone.