Oshkosh truck donated to the Transport Hall of Fame

By: Tamara Whitsed


Bob Osh Kosh 2 Bob East has travelled millions of outback kilometres in his 1968 Oshkosh. Bob Osh Kosh 2
bob and osh kosh Bob and his Oshkosh are both Coober Pedy icons. bob and osh kosh
cropped osh cosh Imported to Australia in 1968, the Oshkosh became a familiar sight around opal mines in South Australia’s far north. cropped osh cosh
IMG 0432 It’s yellow under the bonnet, too. The 350hp C12 Caterpillar was installed in 1997 and is only the Oshkosh’s second engine. IMG 0432
IMG 0447 Bob and Bev East are enjoying retirement at Coober Pedy after 50 years of trucking. IMG 0447
oshkosh wood 1 Loaded with logs at Mount Crawford, South Australia, in 1983. oshkosh wood 1

Retired Oshkosh finds a new home at the National Road Transport Hall of Fame.

 

Bob East’s unbreakable 1968 Oshkosh didn’t miss a beat during a decade logging in the Barossa Valley or a quarter century carting machinery to opal mines in the Outback.

The truck clocked up 4 million kilometres before East retired in 2012.

East, 73, took the Oshkosh for one last run in May when he drove it to Alice Springs and donated it to the National Road Transport Hall of Fame.

The bright yellow truck will no doubt be a hit with visitors during the 2015 National Road Transport Hall of Fame Reunion from August 25 to 31.

East hopes people will smile when they see the Oshkosh.

"It made me happy all my life," he says.

East believes his truck was the second Oshkosh imported to Australia.

It was assembled in Adelaide and pulled B-doubles between Adelaide and Darwin before he bought it for $10,000 in 1972.

Its simple sturdy design and powerful 230hp 1673 Caterpillar engine were exactly what East needed to cart machinery around South Australia for his earthmoving business.

East and his wife Bev shifted their operation to Coober Pedy in 1988. Since then the Oshkosh has spent most of its time on dirt roads. It carted machinery and water to opal mines throughout far north South Australia.

Bev has been the backbone of the business since RN & BR East began in 1962. She took charge of the office and bookkeeping, leaving her husband to spend his days on bulldozers and in trucks.

There is no sleeper on the Oshkosh so East slept in his swag. He carried a barbecue plate with him and lit fires to cook his meals.

He plans to return to Alice Springs for the Reunion and has been nominated for induction to the Wall of Fame.

 

Read the full story on Bob East's Oshkosh in the June edition of Owner//Driver magazine.

 

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