Getting a beer to our military personal is not alway easy.

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 12:31
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I was going though a few old photos and came across some of a trip up the centre my dad did in the late sixties and I thought some maybe interested. Dad drove trucks for the Manufactures Bottle Company from the mid fifties thought to the early seventies. He transported empty beer bottles from Victorian Marine dealers back to Carlton and United Breweries in Ballarat and Melbourne, but during the conflict in Vietnam he transport packaged beer to Darwin to be shipped over to our fighting man and women of the military services.

During the late sixties the Stuart Highway was little more than a dirt track. Often during times of rain you were force to make your own track through the scrub as the road became a river.

On this particular trip there were nine loaded semis pulling 2 trailers with about 50 tonnes of packaged beer. The bulk of these trucks were Kenworths and AECs no sleeping berths, no CBs and no air conditioners a far cry from the vehicles of today. Extra fuel, water and food all needed to be carried on top of the load.Image Could Not Be Found

At Woomera one truck rolled over and as the load was carried under bond what package beer that remained in tact was loaded on top on the others. The damaged beer was buried on the side on the road. Dad commented that he has never witnessed a dozer driver so gentle. He noted that on the return trip the there was an empty hole where the beer had been buried. Must have been wild animals.
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As the convoy travelled near Marla the road became impassable with all the trucks bogged to the rope rails. Also stuck were many tourist buses and travellers.They were stuck there for more than several weeks with help unable to get through. Food was dropped in by air. He said the meals were interesting as the labels had been torn off so you were not sure what was from tea until you opened the can. Peach stew :-(

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Often they would get out of one bog hole only to drive straight into another. The highway resembled a river.
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It took him over 9 weeks to get to Darwin and many months to get over the hangover. Once they reached Darwin they unloaded and piggy backed the 2nd trailer home.
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The full round trip took 11 weeks and the only communication the families had was by way of some news papers articles at the time.
A hard way to earn a living but one hell of an adventure.

Sadly Dad passed away in 2008 but I will always remember some of the great
stories.
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Happy Travels Dave
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Reply By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 12:37

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 12:37
Great stuff Dave, thanks.

Cheers.
AnswerID: 421180

Follow Up By: guzzi - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 18:26

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 18:26
Yep,
Great story.
Now I know why its, "2 beers, per man, per day, perhaps"

Pete
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Reply By: Fiona & Paul - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 12:47

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 12:47
Great story Dave and pictures as well, would be good to see this in a blog.

This may be 'the only record' like this, maybe a common blog where others could add related historical stuff - maybe.

Regards
Paul H
Paul H
OZ Downunder

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AnswerID: 421181

Reply By: Fab72 - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 12:53

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 12:53
Awesome Dave...thanks so much.

My old man used to drive trucks up around the original Leigh Creek back in the late 50's/early 60's. He too had plenty of good stories.

Likewise, there was no air ride seats, Sat phones, CD players, cruise control, air bag suspension, air conditioning etc.

They did it tough in those days, that's for sure. Great photos....love 'em.
Fab.
AnswerID: 421182

Reply By: vk1dx - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 14:00

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 14:00
As a Vietname vet and remembering the mongrels who stopped the beer and mail being loaded in Sydney (da^&ed commie unions) I fully appreciate what your father and his mates did.

A bit late but a very appreciative thanks to him and others like him

Phil
AnswerID: 421188

Follow Up By: Member - Jack - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 15:37

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 15:37
Hear hear!!!!
Jack
The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get. (Lewis Carroll-Alice In Wonderland)

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Follow Up By: Muntoo - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 17:28

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 17:28
As a member of the Maritime Union of Australia, when i read an article on that incident lasy year, i felt ashamed to be involved with them. Never mind paying to be one of them. I pulled out straight away and would never consider being part of them again.
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Follow Up By: Member - Nick - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 17:36

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 17:36
VK &Jack,

Yes I was one of the Sappers that loaded the Jeparit at No. 2 Walsh Bay, just by the Harbour Bridge in Sydney , after the warfie scrap over Vietnam, 40 years ago. Can tell some ripper stories, absolute rippers!, about what the warfies (not all) got up to at the next wharf, in the smoko area , and other spots.(We were separated by cyclone wire and barb.) from them.

Tell ya one- First time I had ever seen tinned dog tucker, some of these blokes would open a tin, (We thought it was flash bully beef), they would slice it about an inch thick, chuck it between 2 slices of continental bread, squash it on the pine and hook in with there chrome teeth. No offence meant to anyone, but a bloody eye opener for 19 yr old regs and 20 yr old nashos.

That is nothing!

Regards Nick
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 17:59

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 17:59
Nick

Before I went over there I worked at 2 Base Workshops at Moorebank as a driver and we helped to drive supply convoys to Woolloomooloo as well.. To the "J". Made my skin crawl when the called us traitors. And then heard the same when we listened to it on Radio Australia from OS.

"Sorry" does not wash in this household. I still cannot stand crowds and thats why we try to travel on our own and camp away from people. Nature does not call you that.

Up the old red rooster . . . . . . .

Phil
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Follow Up By: friar - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 20:02

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 20:02
Hello All, brings back memories, I was with 176 Air Despatch as a faulk lift driver , I remember unloading the beer from the Jeparit , the boys liked a drink or 2 when not on duty. Friar.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 20:09

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 20:09
And it suited the budget. 5c one month and 10c the next (if it got there).

I remember 176. Ever run into George Harrison. No - Not the Beatle.

Phil
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Follow Up By: friar - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 20:22

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 20:22
vk1dx I was there in 68/69 the name does not ring a bell, but I have become a bit forgetful , after all it was 40 years ago.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 20:38

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 20:38
Hi Friar.

No worries. Apart from looking after the radio links in country and back home most of my time there was hidden in the back rooms analysing some very interesting recordings. Still the cheaper beer was good.

My memory is the same

Cheers errr ?? What was your name again.

Hooorooo all

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Friday, Jun 18, 2010 at 07:46

Friday, Jun 18, 2010 at 07:46
I remember the strike. We had to drink that American stuff or spirits. Still as you say it was cheap.
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Follow Up By: Shaver - Friday, Jun 18, 2010 at 11:45

Friday, Jun 18, 2010 at 11:45
Yes it was cheap. $1.20 US Script a case of Beer, $1.20 a carton of smokes & $1.20 a bottle of Spirits. That was in 66 - 67 ! In regard to Small Ships we left on the Vernon Sturdee with the John Monash April 66, two weeks before the Sydney & she passed us half way. 28 days to get there.
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Follow Up By: Shaver - Friday, Jun 18, 2010 at 12:01

Friday, Jun 18, 2010 at 12:01
A small follow up (hope there is a Statute of Limitations). They used to store the beer near the front gate at Vungers under a tarp. I was approached by a Grunt who asked me if I knew the bloke on the Peddibone fork lift (Engineers). I said I did & after a bit of consultation & a firm lookout a pallet was loaded on to the back of a cut down Rover which quickly dropped off 4 Cartons at the back gate on it's way to the Dat. The Swan beer used to go off very quickly in the heat & I can remember the Yanks wanted some of our beer, which they got providing they took 2 cases of Swan to one other.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Friday, Jun 18, 2010 at 12:29

Friday, Jun 18, 2010 at 12:29
My last as well I enjoyed the memories. Thanks guys.

You could get a ride in a Cobra for two cartons of VB and for 6, off you went on a Tom cat. Had three of them. But they also needed a Transfer Form. Brigadier Blogs was very very busy as well.

Some good times helped. Hopefully getting to see some mates up at the Pandanus Veterans park at Lakefield on the way to the Cape. May even have a beer or three while I am there.

Catchya and thanks

Phil is Goooonnnnneeeee
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Reply By: Road Warrior - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 14:21

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 14:21
Great story and pics, thanks for sharing :-)
AnswerID: 421190

Reply By: ob - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 14:27

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 14:27
Yeah, great story and pictures, thank you for sharing memories of times gone by. Well done Dave.

ob
AnswerID: 421193

Reply By: Member - David C2 (VIC) - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 14:37

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 14:37
Thanks for your welcomed comments, I think that it is important that we continue to tell the stories and remember those that helped make us who we are. This story seemed very appropriate at this time when The National Hall Of Fame is once again holding its reunion this year. We all owe a debt to the early pioneers that have shape this great land. I am proud that dad helped in some small way.
I hope to travel to the reunion in Alice this August as a small way to say thanks. I agree with you, with so many snippets of our wonderful history we should place them in a blog. Would be a great reference to our past.

I have just finished reading Too Long In The Bush by Len Beadell who with a small team bulldozed the Gunbarrel Highway. It is an excellent book and another testament to our early pioneers.

Happy travels Dave
AnswerID: 421195

Reply By: Member - Brad S (SA) - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 16:42

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 16:42
Thanks for the yarn David.

It reminded me of when my father was posted to Woomera in February 1966.
It had rained heavily that week and the road from Port Augusta to Wirrappa was a sea of sticky red goo. It took us six hours to cover the 111 miles (160km) in the Ford Falcon which was loaded up with family and possessions.

Cheers
Brad
AnswerID: 421209

Reply By: Member - Christopher P (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 18:35

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 18:35
Thank you for sharing the story/stories of the Australian Way. it makes me proud to be Australian.

I don't like how our Viet Vet's were treated, but in my books they are hero's.

Thank you again for sharing a wonderful story, everyone.
AnswerID: 421225

Follow Up By: Road Warrior - Friday, Jun 18, 2010 at 10:27

Friday, Jun 18, 2010 at 10:27
I agree. It was all long before my time but the way our Vietnam Vets were treated disgusts me. Same with the way some of our Iraq/A-stan vets are being treated now. I always have held servicemen and servicewomen in high regard.

Thank you for those people who have shared their stories in this thread and to those people, thank you for serving and putting it all on the line for us all.
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FollowupID: 691596

Reply By: Stu & "Bob" - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 19:48

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 19:48
G'day Dave,
A very good read, I can feel for those guys, I was dragging triples around central western QLD in the eighties, no airconditioning either. Sometimes the bulldust was that thick you couldn't see your drive tyres, let alone the three 40' trailers behind you.

Regards

AnswerID: 421236

Follow Up By: Member - David C2 (VIC) - Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 20:30

Thursday, Jun 17, 2010 at 20:30
Thank you all, it would appear that we all have some great stories to share. Its good to learn just a little more about the people behind the posts.

Happy Travels Dave
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FollowupID: 691556

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