History repeats in re-enactment of historic oil rig move

Two of the original trucks and a driver, now aged 86, that were involved in a massive oil rig move 60 years ago have taken part in a re-enactment of the historic trip.

Back in 1962, around 60 vehicles were used for the mammoth task of transporting an oil rig from Roma to Karumba, before it was put on a barge bound for Mornington Island.

“It took them just over five weeks to do it, as they got stuck and bogged between Cloncurry and Normanton for two weeks,” explained owner operator Keegan Mulligan, who is among the founding members of the Diamantina Heritage Truck & Machinery Museum in Winton, Queensland.

Former truckie Daryl Brown, 86, drove in the original convoy in 1962.

Western Oilfield Transport, which was a division of Western Transport, was tasked with the move. Cyril Anderson started the business and from humble beginnings in the 1930s, his transport business grew from one truck carrying general freight from Brisbane to Toowoomba, into one of the nation’s largest transport companies from the 1950s to 1970s.

Anderson’s grandson Paul Barry was among those who took part in the re-enactment. As did former truckie Daryl Brown, 86, who drove one of the trucks during the rig shift. There were roughly 40 people on the recent voyage.

The re-enactment was organised by Graham McVean. He and his father worked for Western Transport and he now owns the Western Transport exhibit in the Queensland Transport Museum at Gatton. On display are several trucks, a range of memorabilia, and name plaques recognising past employees.

The re-enactment convoy set off after a gathering at the Roma Gun Club, where entertainment was provided by Australian country music singer Chad Morgan OAM, now aged 86.

Mulligan had the honours of driving the Western Oilfield Transport B61 Mack. This was one of two original trucks on the trip, however the second vehicle, a Mack B63, didn’t make it.

“Only one truck made the whole journey, the B63 didn’t make it all the way. It broke down at Winton and was sent back to the display in Gatton,” said Mulligan.

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