Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2014.
Andrija (Andy) Mardesic's love of trucks all started in 1962 when he was a young man in Yugoslavia. He drove a 1948 Chevrolet and was instantly hooked. He was determined to make a career out of driving trucks. In 1963 Andy came to Australia. He was not able to speak much English but was eager to find work in the trucking industry. He went to Port Melbourne and checked out the shell refinery and other places that he knew operated trucks.
Andy eventually got a start in the construction of the West Gate Bridge and Tullamarine Freeway when the authorities were looking for transport operators. He bought his first truck, a tipper, and worked tirelessly to make ends meet. It was on this job that Andy met Graham Anderson and a true friendship was formed. In 1966 Andy purchased a Bedford to commence interstate work. On his first trip he had to catch a cab to the depot as he couldn't find it. His early loads were egg cartons and Kellogg's Corn Flakes. He later hauled for Reilly Beds. Andy settled into interstate haulage and found himself making many good friends along the Hume.
He truly loved the camaraderie of the road and the fact that if a truckie broke down on the Hume other truckies would stop to help. There was always someone to meet up with for coffee, lunch or just a chat. One such friendship was formed in 1974 with Billy Bump and for years the two men would meet on the Hume. Andy later upgraded to an Isuzu he called the Pink Panther and went hauling pink batts, egg cartons and a variety of other goods. Another vehicle upgrade happened in 1986. This time the new vehicle for Andy was a Kenworth and he was carting for Smorgon Steel. One of Andy's best memories is of being involved in the blockades at Yass and in Razorback in 1978.
Andy now has a contract with One Steel hauling from Newcastle to Melbourne every week. He found his niche hauling on the Hume Highway and has never regretted it. He has been driving for 47 years and is still going strong although he says the body is getting a bit wearier these days. Another legend of the highways!