her­itage HOUSED

Bunny Brown has built the first shed at the Tar­cutta Trans­port & Farming Mu­seum and has formed a com­mit­tee to help him com­plete the project. Ta­mara Whitsed trav­els to Tar­cutta

Deals on Wheels - - Truck Museums -

Com­ple­tion of a five-bay shed at Tar­cutta is ev­i­dence the Tar­cutta Trans­port & Farming Mu­seum is no longer just a pipe dream.

Bunny and Diana Brown in­vested $50,000 of their own money to con­struct the shed at the New South Wales vil­lage which is a pop­u­lar changeover des­ti­na­tion on the Hume High­way.

The Browns plan to dis­play sev­eral his­toric trucks in the new shed, in­clud­ing the Western Star Bunny has been driv­ing since 1987.

Four In­ter­na­tional ACCOs were al­ready as­sem­bled at the site when Deals On Wheels vis­ited Tar­cutta in July. One is perched on top of a con­tainer at the en­trance.

A 1948 Ford, 1934 Chev and Thames Trader are vis­i­ble from the road. Bunny is col­lect­ing parts to re­store the Ford and Chev.

Con­struc­tion of a fence has com­menced. The front gate is flanked by two ex­haust stacks.

Bunny, 73, drove log trucks in the late 1950s be­fore work­ing for CJ Dean of Ade­long. He was an owner-driver for over 45 years and op­er­ated 11 trucks in the mid-1980s.

He was a mem­ber of the Aus­tralian Road Trans­port Her­itage Cen­tre (ARTHC) com­mit­tee which was formed in 2008 to build a truck mu­seum at Tar­cutta. But Bunny parted with the group when ARTHC de­cided to re­lo­cate the pro­posed truck mu­seum to Gunda­gai.

Bunny con­tin­ued ne­go­ti­a­tions with Wagga Wagga City Coun­cil and con­vinced it to lease the 15 hectares ear­marked for the Tar­cutta mu­seum to the Aus­tralian Long Dis­tance Owner and Driver As­so­ci­a­tion (ALDODA). Bunny is ALDODA’s na­tional pres­i­dent.


“It’s been a bat­tle on my own,” says Bunny who is pleased Doug and Pam McMil­lan, De­nis Robert­son and George Goold re­cently agreed to form a com­mit­tee with him to ad­vance the project. Tar­cutta Trans­port & Farming Mu­seum was in­cor­po­rated in June.

“They’re all good peo­ple. They’re in the in­dus­try. They know what they’re do­ing,” Bunny says.

“I wouldn’t get a bet­ter com­mit­tee. I’ve known

I wouldn’t get a bet­ter com­mit­tee. I’ve known them all an aw­ful long time and the in­dus­try knows them.

them all an aw­ful long time and the in­dus­try knows them. It’ll go ahead real big now, with these peo­ple on board.”

Doug, Pam and De­nis are also mem­bers of the com­mit­tee re­spon­si­ble for the Aus­tralian Truck Driv­ers’ Memo­rial which is lo­cated at Tar­cutta.

Bunny says the first stage of the mu­seum will pos­si­bly open later this year. While it will ini­tially be staffed by vol­un­teers, he hopes to even­tu­ally em­ploy sev­eral full-time work­ers.

“It’s go­ing to bring tourists and peo­ple into the town. There’s not much here now.”

It is un­likely the new com­mit­tee will pro­ceed with the $3.9 mil­lion blue-print which was aban­doned by the ARTHC. The mu­seum will in­stead be con­structed in smaller stages. Bunny says sev­eral peo­ple have ex­pressed in­ter­est in build­ing sheds at the site, sim­i­lar to the one he has built, to pre­serve their pri­vate col­lec­tions and dis­play them to the pub­lic.

“We’ve got a heap of trucks to bring in,”

Bunny says. He has about 30 trucks, mostly In­ter­na­tion­als, at his Ade­long home.


Doug and Pam McMil­lan bought their first truck in 1974. D&P Haulage ran eight trucks in the mid1990s and now runs a hot­shot op­er­a­tion with a sin­gle truck.

Doug was on the board of the Aus­tralian

Truck­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (ATA) and Trans­port In­dus­try Su­per­an­nu­a­tion Fund (TIS) for over 20 years but re­lin­quished both po­si­tions re­cently.

Pam is Chair of Trans­port Women Australia and was Aus­tralian Trans­port Woman of the Year in 1999.

When the com­mit­tee meets it will con­sider the pos­si­bil­ity of open­ing the mu­seum on the last week­end of Oc­to­ber 2016 to co­in­cide with the an­nual Aus­tralian Truck Driv­ers’ Memo­rial ser­vice.

“I ap­plaud Bunny for per­se­ver­ing be­cause it’s a great idea,” says Doug who be­lieves Tar­cutta has strug­gled since it was by­passed from the Hume High­way in 2011.

“If Tar­cutta wants to sur­vive, and we can help it do that with the mu­seum, then they should get be­hind it.”

Tar­cutta has a pop­u­la­tion of only 225 peo­ple. This will make it dif­fi­cult to find lo­cal vol­un­teers. But the com­mit­tee will con­sider es­tab­lish­ing a sys­tem sim­i­lar to the Na­tional Road Trans­port Hall of Fame at Alice Springs, where grey-no­mads can stay at free car­a­van sites if they vol­un­teer.

De­nis Robert­son’s truck­ing ca­reer be­gan in 1972 when he bought a 1970 6 Se­ries Dodge to cart meat be­tween Syd­ney and Mel­bourne. To­day Road­mas­ter con­tin­ues un­der the lead­er­ship of his son Ge­off.

De­nis is a Past Chair of the ATA. He also served as Pres­i­dent of the Long Dis­tance Road Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion (LDRTA) and was in­stru­men­tal in es­tab­lish­ing NatRoad.

He says Tar­cutta is the ideal lo­ca­tion for a truck mu­seum be­cause it is half-way be­tween Syd­ney and Mel­bourne, and be­cause it is home to the Aus­tralian Truck Driv­ers’ Memo­rial.

De­nis says Wagga Wagga City Coun­cil has been sup­port­ive. “Bunny’s the one that’s got to take all the credit. We’re just there to help if we can.”

George Goold has had a soft spot for Tar­cutta since 1956 when the Hume High­way be­came im­pass­able be­tween Tar­cutta and Lit­tle Bil­l­abong. He was among hun­dreds of truck­ies stranded at Tar­cutta while they waited for the road to be re­paired. “The CWA opened the hall up and they fed all of us and they didn’t charge us,” George re­calls.

He is op­posed to a truck mu­seum be­ing built in Gunda­gai be­cause truck driv­ers didn’t like stop­ping there back when no­to­ri­ous ‘Taipan’ Tom Cab­ban was a mo­tor­bike cop. “He’d pinch you for any­thing, so we got out of Gunda­gai as quick as we could and we would go to Tar­cutta.”

George be­gan driv­ing trucks in 1950. From

1953 he drove in­ter­state for Har­vey-Bil­son, Transcon­ti­nen­tal Trans­port, Alan Han­cock, and HR Hanel. He was also an owner-driver and a Trans­port Work­ers’ Union (TWU) of­fi­cial.

Now he runs a taxi busi­ness at Bri­bie Is­land, Queens­land.

George plans to travel to Tar­cutta in Oc­to­ber and says he will leave a re­stored 1954 Di­a­mond T 531 at the mu­seum.

Any­one wish­ing to as­sist the com­mit­tee, es­pe­cially by do­nat­ing funds or ex­hibits, is in­vited to phone Bunny on 0438 072 494 or Doug on 0407 835 115.

Above: Bunny Brown with the 1987 Western Star he plans to dis­play at the mu­seum. It has over 5.5mil­lion km on the clock.


1. Pre­vi­ously owned by Alf Wil­son of the Up­per Mur­ray, this In­ter­na­tional AB130 has been re­stored. It is lo­cated at the Browns’ home but they want to dis­play it at the Tar­cutta mu­seum.

2. An In­ter­na­tional ACCO once used by live­stock car­ri­ers A & B Dean of Ade­long now sits on top of a con­tainer at the mu­seum.

3. Pam and Doug McMil­lan at D&P Haulage in Al­bury. Pam is chair of Trans­port Women Australia, while Doug brings a wealth of in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence to the Tar­cutta Trans­port & Farming Mu­seum.

4. Bunny hopes to re­store the 1948 Ford and 1934 Chev which are at the mu­seum. 5. This In­ter­na­tional ACCO was once owned by CJ Dean of Ade­long and is now at the Tar­cutta mu­seum site. 5




6. George Goold (left) and De­nis Robert­son have long his­to­ries in road trans­port and want to see truck­ing his­tory pre­served at Tar­cutta.

7. Bunny and Diana Brown at their Ade­long home where they have a collection of over 30 trucks they hope to move to the mu­seum.

8. An In­ter­na­tional ACCO at


9. Bunny’s rare twin-cab In­ter­na­tional AA150 at Ade­long. 89


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