New wheels for The Ferret

By: Greg Bush, Photography by: Greg Bush

Friends have rallied around asbestosis sufferer John ‘The Ferret’ Moran, enabling him to buy a new mobility scooter

New wheels for The Ferret
Former truckie and truck magazine columnist John 'The Ferret' Moran.


Friends of John ‘The Ferret’ Moran OAM have rallied around the former truck driver and transport magazine gossip columnist to raise enough funds through a Go Fund Me website page to cover the cost of a mobility scooter.

In recent years The Ferret, who turns 87 in June, has suffered from asbestosis and muscle deterioration in his heart. He admits that walking more than 25 metres has become almost impossible.

"Gloria Bell, a friend of mine, she’s bloody talked me into it," says John, referring to the Go Fund Me website page. "I said, ‘No, I’m not going to do that, I don’t expect my mates to buy me anything’.

"Anyway, I relented in the end and I had to swallow a B-double tipper load of pride."

John’s contact with asbestos came when the James Hardie factory at Newstead, Brisbane, closed its doors in 1983. The Hardie equipment was to be transported to a new site at Wacol.

A mate of John was tasked with managing a couple of trucks to move the machinery and hired him as a driver. The project lasted almost a year. "He bought two International 3070s and two 44ft Haulmarks," John recalls.

"We were working 12 hours shifts, six days a week, because there was so much shit in that big shed and we had to cart all the product that was there and then all the machinery.

"The asbestos dust was inches thick on top of everything," he says. "No-one liked the dust, but nobody knew it was going to kill someone.

"Now it’s worse than a taipan bite."

Cartoon by John Allison

Although the Go Fund Me was also set up to raise funds for John's wife Margo, 90, he admits she is not as keen to hop on board.

According to John, Margo’s response was, "No, I don’t want one. I’m not old enough for a mobility scooter".

Nevertheless, John will soon be the owner of an ATTO mobility scooter, which he believes is the best in the business.

John says the battery-powered ATTO has a range of 18km with a top speed of 8km/h. Importantly it weighs only 27kg and can be folded into a suitcase to fit in the his car’s boot.

"It’s the most innovative thing I’ve ever seen," he enthuses.

He says his new wheels will allow him to continue his involvement with Convoy for Kids and Lights on the Hill, as well as being a patron for the Riding for the Disabled Association.

A qualified Justice of the Peace, he also spends every Monday authorising documents at the Beerwah Library on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

He says the scooter is robust enough to last him for years. Without it, he believes it would only be a matter of months before he was completely housebound.

"I’ve been a truckie all my life and with my knowledge of machinery and being kind to engines, I never thrash anything.

"And I wouldn’t thrash this little thing either."

Click here for more information and to support the Wheels for Johnny ‘Ferret’ Moran Go Fund Me page.

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