Characters of the 2015 Hall of Fame: Brian Watts & Gary Baldry

By: Greg Bush, Photography by: Greg Bush


Hall of Fame IMGP9803 Gary Baldry Gary Baldry got into trucking almost by accident. Hall of Fame IMGP9803 Gary Baldry
Hall of Fame IMGP9818 Brian Watts and his plaque on the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame Brian Watts and his plaque on the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame. Hall of Fame IMGP9818 Brian Watts and his plaque on the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame

Hall of Fame nominations caught Brian Watts and Gary Baldry by surprise.

 

Alice Springs’ population grew markedly in late August when thousands of people from all over Australia attended the annual Road Transport Hall of Fame and the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame ceremony.

As in previous years, there were a sprinkling of posthumous inductions, with friends and relatives accepting the medals and certificates on their loved one’s behalf.

Adding to the occasion, and as in previous years, there was no shortage of surprised individuals.

More than one third of this year’s inductees were initially caught unawares, sweet-talked into making the trip to the Alice for reasons other than attending the induction ceremony.

Brian Watts from Echuca had never been to the annual Road Transport Reunion, although he’d driven past the museum plenty of times, hauling machinery on his way north through the Northern Territory.

Unbeknown to Brian, his former employer Jim Hoffman of Green and Gold Contractors in Hamilton, Victoria, nominated him, and with the help of Brian’s family, began writing his biography for the ceremony.

"I’m very proud," Brian smiles.

 "It was a surprise; they’ve been planning it for ages. I didn’t know until a couple of nights ago."

That was when Jim Hoffman organised a barbecue at their Alice Springs motel, presenting Brian with a watch for his years of service.

"A real good company to work for," he says.

Brian, now 72 and retired, says he’s been driving trucks since he could "stand up". He went from carting hay and cattle around Gippsland, to driving buses in Melbourne.

He owned a couple of Scanias from the mid-1980s onwards, before linking up with Green and Gold.

Gary Baldry was another to be initially caught unawares, until a letter arrived in the mail confirming his induction.

"A mate of mine from Goulburn, Gary Heat, nominated me," he says.

Gary’s job for the past three and a half decades has been delivering News Limited newspapers mainly between Sydney, Canberra and Jindabyne.

He’s still driving now, behind the wheel of an Isuzu FRR.

"This is the first time I’ve been up here; it’s great," Gary says.

"It’s just the logistics of getting here."

Gary got into trucking almost by accident. His younger brother Mark had tow trucks, but became ill and asked Gary to take over.

"I went out and got my truck licence, and from then it’s history."

You can read the full story in the October edition of Owner//Driver.

 

There was no shortage of surprised individuals at this year's Road Transport Hall of Fame.

Posted by Owner Driver on Wednesday, 14 October 2015

 

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