Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2013.
Charles John Croft, (Old Jack) was born in a tent in1935 in the mallee region of Victoria, the son of a horse teamster. He met and married his late wife, Elaine 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 operated a team of 30 horses. From the time he was just five years of age Jack's job was to attend to the horses and harness them ready for work such as dredging water channels and carting timber out of the forest.
Jack's first job as a driver was for Theo Pownceby at the age of 14 in 1949. He worked towing a semi-trailer behind a 26 hp petrol powered 1947 Austin truck fitted with a four speed crash gearbox. He carried wooden posts from Elmhurst to Werribee Metropolitan Farms and would unload there, continue to Geelong and load bagged fertilizer for various farms in the Elmhurst area. One of Jack's most hair raising memories of driving the Austin, was dropping the tailshaft while going down the Buninyong Hill near Ballarat and riding it out until the truck came to a halt. Over the years Jack carried livestock and general freight over most of the roads along the east and west coasts of Australia. The trucks he drove in this period included Foden, Leyland, Beaver, F600 Ford, International AL180 and R190, AEC and Deutz Jupiter. The companies included Mediowcroft, Griminson, John Beckton and the Reynolds Trading Company.
In the 1970's, after relocating to Mildura, Jack was worked for McGlashans, Armstons, Bill Lever and John Engelfield in a variety of trucks including MAN, Mercedes Benz, Scania and Atkinson. By 1980 he was driving for Cordoma Brothers Refrigerated Transport of Irymple, running produce to various markets on the east coast of Australia. He later drove Kenworth SAR, T600 and K100s. Jack started with Thompsons Transport driving Kenworth K100G and K104's running all over Australia towing B-Doubles and road trains with loads of Colgate product and Bridgestone Tyres. He then moved on to Western Freight Management in the mid 2000's where he worked the Star Track Express shuttle between Adelaide and Sydney.
Jack suffered a great loss when the backbone of the Croft family, his loving wife Elaine, passed away in May, 2005. Old Jack dedicates the fact that he is inducted here on the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame to her memory - saying without her love and support for 48 years he would not have been able to achieve this milestone. Jack stayed with Western Freight Management until he retired in June, 2012, at the age of 77 years. Jack has lived through some major changes in the industry. He went through the introduction of the road tax and travelled just about every dirt road in the country. It is estimated that over his 64 year career in road transport Old Jack Croft has travelled over 11 million kilometres over just about every road in the country.