Bernie Bianchi has never wanted to be anything other than a truck driver. As a teenage schoolboy at St Joseph's College, on busy James Street Toowoomba, he used to regale the family with stories of how he sat at a window seat in class so he could look out the window at the enormous prime movers going past and day dream that one day it would be him behind the wheel. He has been living that dream for almost all his adult life and continues to do so.
Bernie has experienced many highs and lows in his career. In 1975, he lost his mentor and good friend Trevor Gleeson in a road accident on an interstate run. A few years later Bernie was washed down a flooded creek near Surat in Queensland while driving for Jewells. He escaped out of the window of the truck and survived because he was able to swim to a tree. He had to wait for some hours for the water to subside before he could get help. He said at the time he feared more for his truck, though he could see its headlights floodlighting the trees as it swirled down the raging creek and out of view.
Bernie is patient and tolerant man, making him able to deal with the many trials and tribulations that come with 18 years of driving the travelling public on his interstate bus runs. Bernie has lived 40 years of married life at one address where he has raised three daughters with his wife Madonna. It is testament to his good character and caring nature that his neighbours have tolerated decades of menacingly large trucks and buses parked in their street. Bernie lovingly washed, polished and maintained these vehicles each weekend.
When Bernie and his family visited the Northern Territory for a holiday he insisted they go to the Transport Hall of Fame as he had heard so much about it. He was overwhelmed and chuffed to see the familiar names of so many old colleagues. We are proud to welcome Bernie to the prestigious Shell Rimula Wall of Fame.