Gordo’s drive for jus­tice

For 40 years this brave truckie has con­tin­ued fight­ing to be heard

Big Rigs - - OPERATOR PROFILE - John Kil­lick

DUE to a no­to­ri­ous he­li­copter es­cape from Sil­ver­wa­ter’s max­i­mum se­cu­rity prison the MRRC in March 1999, a lot of peo­ple know me. I have writ­ten two books,

Gambling for Love and The Last Es­cape. They con­tain sto­ries about some of the most in­fa­mous pris­on­ers in Aus­tralian his­tory. Men I have met and some­times be­friended.

Some­times the most mem­o­rable peo­ple you meet in jail aren’t no­to­ri­ous.

A truck driver named Gor­don Par­sons is one of these men.

In 1983, at the age of 18, he was sent to Mait­land Gaol – at the time one of the hard­est prisons in New South Wales.

When the gov­er­nor saw him he knew he would be a tar­get for the sex­ual preda­tors.

En­ter Wil­liam John Munday – bet­ter known as Billy. The gov­er­nor asked him to keep the preda­tors away.

Nor­mally Munday would have been the first preda­tor to strike. He was do­ing 54 years for mur­der, kid­nap­ping, rape and other vi­o­lent crimes. Billy fan­cied a boy.

But there was an affin­ity be­tween Gor­don and Billy. Both of them had been in­car­cer­ated in the bru­tal boy’s home in Tam­worth, En­deav­our House. So big bad Billy Munday pro­tected Gor­don.

Munday al­ways said that Tam­worth made him the killer he be­came. He had been bashed, ter­rorised, tor­tured and starved while there.

Gor­don went there twice for a to­tal pe­riod of two years.

Ge­orge Free­man, Arthur Stan­ley “Neddy” Smith, James Finch, Arch­bold “Mad Dog” McCaf­ferty, Kevin Crump and Peter Sch­nei­das were all sent to Tam­worth. Re­spon­si­ble for at least 24 mur­ders be­tween them.

This is why, to me, Gor­don is ex­cep­tional. He not only ex­pe­ri­enced the hor­rors of Tam­worth, but at the age of 12 he was sent to Charl­ton Angli­can Home for Boys at Ash­field for be­ing a pas­sen­ger in a stolen ve­hi­cle.

On his first night there he was bru­tally raped.

Al­though he ran away no one, in­clud­ing his older brother, be­lieved his story. He was re­turned to Charl­ton where he was raped again.

Af­ter a while he was sent to Daruk where things got worse. Not only was he sex­u­ally as­saulted and raped on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions – he was il­le­gally se­dated and cir­cum­cised.

When the op­er­a­tion was botched he was rushed to hos­pi­tal but the dam­age was done. His pe­nis has never grown since and he can’t have sex or have chil­dren.

He has never mar­ried and has many other med­i­cal prob­lems due to the abuses in­flicted on him.

He was bashed and scarred at both Mount Pe­nang Boys’ Home and Tam­worth.

Dur­ing the six years he spent in boys’ homes he was also sub­jected to aver­sion shock ther­apy at the Acute Unit at the Prince of Wales Hos­pi­tal.

De­spite all of these atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted against him by peo­ple paid to pro­tect him, Gor­don took a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to the one taken by Munday and Smith etc. They all be­came killers. Taught to drive just be­fore he was re­leased from Mount Pe­nang, and at­tracted to the sense of free­dom and safety in a cab, Gor­don be­came a truck driver.

It didn’t mean he gave up. On the con­trary he tried for 40 years to get jus­tice. And for more than 30 years he drove and lived in trucks while he sought jus­tice.

I have a soft spot for truck­ies. My old man worked for Yel­low Ex­press from the mid-’30s un­til the late ’50s.

When he se­verely dam­aged his back try­ing to lift a re­frig­er­a­tor onto the back of his truck he had to give it away. It broke his spirit.

That won’t hap­pen to Gor­don. He drives dif­fer­ent types of trucks. And al­though his body has been bro­ken, his spirit never will be.

At the mo­ment he owns and drives a B-dou­ble. He drives long dis­tances to all parts of Aus­tralia.

Mainly he op­er­ates in Queens­land and New South Wales.

He sleeps in them be­cause it makes him feel safe. Oc­ca­sion­ally he will stay in a mo­tel or stay with friends, of whom he has many around the coun­try.

His truck is his home. Armed with a large col­lec­tion of Slim Dusty tapes he is ready to take on any jobs no mat­ter the dis­tance.

The of­fences he went to jail for were mainly driv­ing charges. He was once ac­cused of a more se­ri­ous crime but was found to be in­no­cent.

“Are you bit­ter about what hap­pened to you?” I asked him.

“Nope,” he said, purs­ing his lips. “I just want jus­tice.”

And jus­tice is some­thing he has fought for. For 40 years he tried to get the au­thor­i­ties to lis­ten to him.

Even­tu­ally a ded­i­cated team of po­lice not only be­lieved him – they did some­thing about it.

Fi­nally for Gor­don and oth­ers who suf­fered sim­i­lar atroc­i­ties, jus­tice is be­ing done. It is never too late.

When I asked Gor­don if he had any com­plaints about the truck­ing in­dus­try to­day he made the fol­low­ing com­ments:

■ Truck­ies travel long dis­tances. Toi­lets should be pro­vided along the way. (He was once done for “tak­ing a leak in a park­ing bay”).

■ The trucks from the big com­pa­nies like Toll and Lin­fox seem to have an un­fair ad­van­tage. (Gor­don’s truck can’t go past 100km/h but he is of­ten passed by these other trucks trav­el­ling much faster.)

■ Cars are the big­gest haz­ard on the road for truck driv­ers.

■ It is im­per­a­tive for driv­ers to get some sleep.

■ Truck­ies, par­tic­u­larly sub-con­trac­tors, are sub­ject to a lot of ha­rass­ment from po­lice, the RTA and nu­mer­ous fines for mi­nor things.

■ The big com­pa­nies put enor­mous pres­sure on sub-con­trac­tors to de­liver faster than pos­si­ble with­out tak­ing risks. How to fix the prob­lem? Easy, says Gor­don. All truck driv­ers stop work­ing dur­ing the Christ­mas pe­riod.

That will force a change of at­ti­tude.

As I said at the start: Gor­don is one of most mem­o­rable men I have met.


LONG HAUL: Gor­don Par­sons won’t give up un­til he gets jus­tice for what hap­pened to him as a young man.

Driv­ing gives Gor­don a sense of free­dom and safety.

Gor­don’s truck dou­bles as his home.

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