Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2013.
John Duryea was born at the height of the Great Depression in October 1929 in Balranald, Victoria. He left school at the age of 14 and went into the bush to cut railway sleepers. At around 18 years old he purchased an old Army Blitz and carted the sleepers from the bush to the railhead. So began John's life-long road transport career.
John then became involved with Ralph Woods and Westland Motors Transport and from here his interstate transport business evolved. For a time John's wife Mavis had to drive the truck to Melbourne as John was not yet 21 and didn't hold a semi licence. The couple went on to have five children. Mavis passed away in 1967 when the youngest child was just seven. With the support of their families John was able to continue the interstate business and raise his family.
John then bought a White Mustang prime-mover with single axle trailers about 30ft long and later progressed to bogies so he could carry the extra weight. John liked the whites and soon bought more. The John Duryea fleet of White Mustangs were painted grey-blue with white scrolls, and a red diamond. One of his trucks, still in those colours, is kept within the family.
During the 1956 floods Balranald was isolated so John purchased army ducks and freight was transported back and forth keeping the local economy running. John's freight over the years was everything from general to wool, rabbits, tomatoes, beer and groceries. All were carted to and from markets, and loaded and unloaded by hand. Many of the loads were collected from properties some 200kms north of Balranald for the long haul to the city. John Duryea carted three to five loads of rabbits per week from Ivanhoe to Melbourne for Jack McGrath the Rabbit King.
John was in the transport industry for 45 years, joined also by son Robert. He loved the life and the people he met along the way. He never retired and passed away aged 58.
John Pearson (Pearsons Transport Services) described John as, an inspiration, as well as on occasions, a mentor, giving good advice when asked. He was held in very high esteem by his fellow truckers, one of nature's gentlemen.