NOLAN’S Interstate Transport felt the loss of hardworking employee Herbert (Bert) Black after 33 years of loyal hard work. Bert retired earlier this year after unfortunately failing his tri-monthly medical test from his GP.
“I’d much rather to still be driving trucks,” Bert said.
“It felt terrible to leave and I didn’t really want to retire. It’s a pain really.” “But this spare time gives me more of a chance to spend time with my family.” “And I used to really love golfing so I’ll get back into it as soon as I can, when my health improves.”
Bert said it was a good experience working for Nolan’s and felt like he was part of the family.
“It’s been quite enjoyable working for them, yeah. They looked after me and I personally think they are a good mob to work for.”
Bert spoke fondly of the late owner of Nolan’s Transport, Terry Nolan. “Terry was like a mate to me. He was godfather to my daughter Louise,” he said. “Terry and I had a few blues over little things, we’ve had our ups and downs but we were bloody good mates.” “I miss him terribly.”
Bert said the truck driving industry had changed a lot from when was a young man.
“We used to hand-sack trailers of potatoes. I loved doing spuds because it kept you real fit,” he said. “You would have to load 70, 50kg bags onto the back of the trailer; it was real work you know.
“The conditions of some roads are better to drive on but they aren’t doing enough to the roads that they could be.” “They’ve got docks now, at the truck depot, where you just back the truck into whereas back in the day, you would push them in and pull them out with a pallet jack. “You still have to do that sometimes, but I haven’t in over 18 months because Nolan’s have really been looking after me.” Bert drove his truck to Melbourne three times a fortnight for Nolan’s, right up until he was 77 years old.
“Because my walking was getting worse, they would unload and load it up for me, ready to go to
Melbourne. “I knew the roads very well and didn’t need a map. “I loved being on the road and I’ve never dropped a load.”
Born on April 24, 1938, in Mareeba in Far North Queensland, Bert went to school in Cairns and lived at Machans Beach with his family. There, he met his wife Sheila when he was only 19. “Sheila and I got married on August 16, 1958 in Cairns. “I’d like to thank my wife for all she’s done for me, raising the kids and everything else I couldn’t do because I was on the road. People don’t think to appreciate and thank the other-half who is at home looking after everything,” he said.
Bert left school in Cairns at just 13 when his mother needed a big operation and the family had to find the money for it. “Back then you had to pay for all operations. Dad was in the forestry industry and you can imagine what the wages were like then, so they asked me to leave school and get a job and help out. So I did,” he said. “Things like that don’t really happen these days because that kind of responsibility isn’t put upon young children, but you had to do what you had to do. “I think the rules to stay in school are stricter now.”
Among being a truck driver, Bert has tried his hand at being a saw doctor in a saw mill and as a mattress maker. “Of all the things I’ve done in my life, seeing my five kids being born is definitely one of the most memorable, other than getting married. I’m also so grateful for all of the great-grandkids they have given us.”
Gatton Star – Wednesday 14 October 2015